Caring for your mouth in the cold and flu season

Caring for your mouth in the cold and flu season

We’re now leaving the hot season and heading into that time of year when people are more likely to get colds, flu and, these days, COVID. When we at the Epping Dentist are feeling unwell, we know that having a clean mouth from brushing our teeth is refreshing and makes us feel a little better. It’s simple and a nice way to care for ourselves when we are under the weather.

It’s not a good idea to share your toothbrush with anyone else at any time but be very strict if you are unwell. That’s a sure-fire way to share any viruses lurking around on moist surfaces.

Unless your immune system is severely compromised (i.e., you are very sick) you probably won’t need to throw out your toothbrush – but if it is due to be changed, change it anyway.

If you want some cough drops to suck on while you are unwell, be sure to get sugar-free ones (i.e., without fructose or corn syrup), so you are not bathing your teeth in sugar for hours on end. That is a recipe for tooth decay as the bacteria in your mouth love the sugar and produce acid from it – that acid causes tooth decay.

If you are vomiting, it’s good to afterwards swish your mouth out with some water or a mixture of water and a little baking soda. Spit it into the sink. That’s good to do as vomit has a high acid content, which is bad for your teeth. The swishing and spitting get rid of it. If you also feel like cleaning your teeth, wait for at least half an hour, so the acid is no longer there – otherwise, you will be just spreading it around on your teeth.

One of the unpleasant things about feeling sick is a dry mouth. Being ill does that to you, and the dryness is increased by many decongestant and pain relief medications. So, drink lots of water for your mouth’s sake and your whole body. It’s good for flushing your body and moistening your mouth. Keeping the saliva flowing in your mouth is very important for your teeth, your Epping Dentist says.

If you find you can’t drink much at once, perhaps try sipping one mouthful every 5 minutes.

Sports drinks might be recommended in this situation, but be careful as they contain a lot of sugar and are, therefore, not good for your teeth – unless you can find a sugar-free one. One solution is to alternate between them and water, to get the electrolytes but also rinse your mouth.

If you want something warm and comforting, tea is suitable, but try to drink it without sugar or lemon juice to avoid the extra sugar or acid.

We at your Epping Dentist hope you find this useful if you find yourself at the mercy of a cold, flu or COVID this winter season – and we wish you the best!


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