This flu and virus season is hitting hard and we all do our best to stay safe and healthy.  When we get ill it is easy to overlook our oral health, so we have put together a list of things you can do to keep your oral health in check should you or your family members catch a bug. 

1. Choose the right medication

Select sugar-free cough lozenges and cold syrups to help with symptoms. Read the labels and avoid ones that list fructose and corn syrup. These ingredients can lead to cavities especially the lozenges that you hold in your mouth for longer periods of time. If you can’t find a sugar-free option make sure you rinse your mouth water after taking the medication especially before going to bed. 

2. Hydrate with safe fluids

The doctor always says to keep drinking when sick, it is important to pick the right kinds of fluids. Water is always the number one choice. Green tea is another excellent option and has properties that help fight cavities and gum disease. If you want to drink juice, have it in moderation and make sure to dilute it and rinse your mouth with water after drinking to wash away any sugar left behind. 

3. Protect your teeth from vomiting

The one symptom I dread the most when I am sick is vomiting. This can not only cause you to be dehydrated but also the stomach acids can also damage your teeth. You may want to reach right away for your toothbrush after vomiting but it is best to wait about half an hour before brushing. Brushing immediately after vomiting can wear down the enamel that was softened by the stomach acids. Best to swish your mouth with water with a little baking soda right away to neutralize the acid and brush a little later. 

4. Fight dry mouth

When sick we all tend to become mouth breathers. A dry mouth can not only be uncomfortable but also can also lead to decay since you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth to wash away plaque.  A dry mouth can also be intensified with decongestants used to relieve a stuffy nose. Here are some ways to fight dry mouth:

  •  Drink plenty of water
  • Suck on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum
  • Add moisture to the air with a vaporizer or humidifier 

5. Maintain your daily oral health care routine

I know it is so easy to push that nightly brush aside when we are feeling so ill and exhausted, but you really need to maintain this routine and you will be grateful for the trade-off. Plus having a fresh mouth can make your body feel better both physically and mentally. 

Don’t forget to practice good oral hygiene habits when you are sick and put your toothbrush away from other family members toothbrushes while you are sick. It is also recommended to toss and replace your toothbrush after a virus.