Keeping Your Teeth Healthy During Flu Season
With flu season upon us, you’ve probably thought about ways to stay healthy during the next couple months. Washing your hands frequently, eating healthy, and getting your flu shot likely top the list, but what about your dental health? This isn’t something most people think about when trying to stay healthy or if they have the flu, but it is an important part of your overall health. Here are the top ways to maintain your oral health during flu season.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth
This is the number one way to maintain a healthy mouth. Make sure to brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. For an extra-clean mouth, brush and floss after every time you eat, and consider using sugar-free mouthwash.
When you have the flu, you are likely using cough drops or cough syrup, both of which are full of sugar. If possible, use sugar-free cough drops, and rinse your mouth with water after using cough syrup. If you are throwing up, rinse your mouth and brush your teeth after each incident, since stomach acid eats away at the enamel on your teeth. Also, make sure to stick with your normal dental hygiene routine, even if you are feeling tired and sick. Don’t take a break from good dental hygiene, as this could lead to problems in the future.
Replace Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, so make sure to routinely change yours. If you get the flu, replace your toothbrush immediately after you feel better. This will prevent germs from reinfecting you and provide your mouth with the cleanest care possible.
You could also consider getting an electric toothbrush, which cleans your teeth like the dentist does. This makes it easy to get a new “toothbrush” each time you need to, since you can just change the head on the brush.
Stay Hydrated This Flu Season
Drinking enough water is important at any time, but even more so during flu season. Many doctors recommend drinking eight glasses of water each day, while some recommend even more—11.5 cups for women, 15.5 cups for men. Drinking the right amount of water will help you recover more quickly from the flu and prevent dry mouth, which, if untreated, can lead to gum disease and cavities due to decreased saliva production.
You should also gargle with salt water, as this washes away bacteria prior to brushing. By mixing 1 teaspoon of salt with water, you can create a salt water solution to clean your teeth. This will reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth as well, decreasing the chance to develop cavities.
Dental hygiene is an important part of your overall health, especially during flu season. By following the tips in this article, you can keep your teeth healthy throughout the winter months. These tips also work for people with braces, so if you’re ready to take the next step in your orthodontic journey, contact Milnor Orthodontics.
At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit milnororthodontics.com to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.