When you're sick, the last thing you probably want to think about is your oral health. Unfortunately, there are many factors that arise when you are ill that can affect your teeth and gums. These are some of the most common.
Dry mouth is a frequent problem when you are sick with a cold or the flu. You may breathe through your mouth to compensate for a stuffy nose, and this could dry out the oral tissues. Saliva is crucial when it comes to controlling bacteria that cause cavities, so a dry mouth can cause decay. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water when you are ill, and you'll work to prevent dry mouth.
Reinfection It is important to brush your teeth while you are sick but doing so with the same contaminated toothbrush can actually lead to reinfection. Once you start to feel like yourself again, consider replacing your brush with a new one.
Sugary Medicine and Cough Drops If you are suffering through uncomfortable symptoms, you might turn to cough drops or cough syrup to try and feel better. Many of these medicines are packed full of sugar, so it is like sucking on candy. Sugar is a major culprit in the development of cavities, as bacteria will feed on those sugars. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water frequently in order to prevent any potential issues.
Vomiting If you are suffering from the stomach flu, one unfortunate side effect may be vomiting. After you throw up, you might feel tempted to brush your teeth immediately, but try and hold off. Stomach acids come in contact with the teeth, and if you brush right away, you'll rub those acids into the enamel where they can do their damage.
Have you been sick and are now concerned about your oral health? If so, give our office a call to set up your next appointment.
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