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If a cold or flu has got you down, make sure it doesn’t take a toll on your dental health along the way. It’s tempting to skip your daily oral hygiene when you aren’t feeling well, but that’s not a good idea. Especially if it takes 7-14 days to get well! Today, we’re going to look at a few things you can do to protect your teeth and gums while you are getting over a cold or flu virus.

1-Brush and floss every day, no matter how tired you are feeling. The CDC says that flu virus can survive 72 hours on moist surfaces, so remember to keep your toothbrush away from anyone else’s in your household. Because there are millions of bacteria in the mouth even when you aren’t sick, it’s never a good idea to share a toothbrush with anyone. And if your toothbrush is 3-4 months old, now is a good time to replace it and keep your smile fresh!

2-Coughing often comes with being sick with respiratory illnesses. If you are relying on cough drops for relief, check the label and make sure they are sugar-free. Avoiding corn syrup or fructose will prevent your cough drops from feeding cavity-causing bacteria.

3-Vomiting is often prevalent when you have the stomach flu. This is bad for your teeth as the stomach acids coat your tooth enamel. But don’t brush right away after you get sick. Instead, wait 30 minutes to dilute the stomach acids. This can be done by rinsing and swishing with plain, water, a diluted oral rinse, or a solution of 1 tsp baking soda mixed with a cup of water.

4-Hydrating while you are sick is every doctor’s mantra. Drinking hydrating fluids can also prevent dry mouth, which can arise when you take decongestants, painkillers, or antihistamines. Your safest bet is water when it comes to protecting your teeth. If you feel you need electrolytes from sports drinks, choose those that are sugar-free. Your teeth will thank you.

Keeping your mouth clean when you are sick will go a long way to helping you feel better. For more information about keeping your smile safe while you are sick, feel free to reach out to our Olsen Taylor General Dentistry team at 704-662-9111. Our Dr. Taylor, Dr. Laura Olsen Taylor in Mooresville, North Carolina is here for your smile!