If you’ve been sick with a cold or the flu, you need to be particularly vigilant about restoring your health. This includes being extremely careful about your oral health. Unfortunately, when you’re sick, your oral health can also be at risk. Here are just five reasons why being sick can impact your oral health—and how to fight it!
1. You’re at a greater risk for dry mouth when you’re sick.
Dry mouth—a condition brought on by lack of saliva to keep your mouth moist—can be quite damaging to your oral health. It can increase your risk of cavities, halitosis (bad breath), gingivitis, and even make it more difficult to eat or swallow. When you’re sick, there are a few reasons that dry mouth can occur. For starters, breathing through your nose is important for adding moisture to the air you breathe. Therefore, if you’re struggling to inhale through your nose, this could lead to dry mouth. Secondly, certain medications like antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers can cause dry mouth. For these reasons, it is so important to stay hydrated when you’re sick.
2. Nausea can lead to tooth decay.
Unfortunately, the acids that can be left in your mouth after vomiting can be very corrosive to your teeth, wearing away your dental enamel and causing decay. However, it is important that you don’t brush your teeth right away after getting sick! Otherwise, the rough bristles of your toothbrush could wear away your enamel as well. Instead, you should first rinse with a water and baking soda mixture to neutralize the acids, and then brush your teeth afterwards.
3. Cough drops aren’t always great for your teeth!
Next time you have to buy cough drops, take a look at the label. Make sure you avoid any brands where the ingredients show a high level of fructose or corn syrup—these cough drops might as well just be hard candies! Using them can expose your teeth to high amounts of sugar over a long period of time. As a result, the bacteria in plaque can metabolize these sugars and, in turn, release acids onto the surfaces of your teeth. With too many of these “acid attacks,” your teeth could suffer from decay and even cavities.
4. You can experience some unexpected dental pain.
If you’ve ever had a sinus infection, then you may have experienced some inexplicable dental pain. This is caused by the swelling and inflammation of the sinuses behind your cheeks, which create pressure on the roots of your teeth. This can be quite painful, particularly when you’re moving around. Thankfully, this pain should dissipate as your sinus infection goes away. However, if the pain remains, make sure you address the issue with your dentist.
5. Germs can linger on your toothbrush.
Did you know that the flu virus can sustain on moist surfaces for up to 72 hours? This includes your toothbrush! Therefore, if you’ve been sick with the flu, it is important that you swap out your toothbrush, particularly if your immune system is highly compromised. This will ensure that your toothbrush is clean and relatively free of bacteria!
If you’re experiencing any troubles with your oral health after being sick, we can help! Call Manus Dental in Hyde Park, Lake Zurich, or Yorkville today to schedule your next appointment.