Oral Health and the Flu

As we all know, the cold and flu season is rampant this year. It seems like just about everyone we know has been affected in some way. As we focus on getting well and recovering from the flu, Dr. Apekian at Midtown Dental in Sacramento, CA reminds us why it’s important to consistently care for our teeth and maintain our oral health.

Dental Health

Simple Steps to Care of Your Teeth

While the flu virus itself doesn’t cause harm to our teeth, some of the common remedies and strategies to combat the cold or the flu can indeed damage your dental health. It’s important to remember that while we are caring for our bodies during a cold or flu, we want to take care of our teeth as well.

Staying Hydrated

One of the most common recommendations for combating the flu is to drink lots of fluids and staying hydrated. While this is certainly important and can be very beneficial, we want to make sure the we are drinking the right fluids. As most doctors recommend, water is always the best fluid and it’s also the best way to keep a healthy mouth. The most important thing to remember is to avoid fluids that are high in sugar. While drinking sports drinks like Gatorade are common while sick, they need to be consumed in moderation or they need to be sugar free.

Fighting Dry Mouth

When we are sick and have the flu, we often have dry mouth as well. Aside from being uncomfortable and annoying, it can lead to a greater risk of dental cavities. During the flu, the most common cause for dry mouth are the various medications we take. The best way to fight against it is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of sugar free liquids. This ensures that your mouth is not dry and your teeth are safe.

Sugar Free Cough Drops, Cough Syrups, and Throat Lozenges

Cough drops, cough syrups and throat lozenges are also very common remedies to fight a cold or the flu. As with the liquids we drink, it’s important to choose products that are sugar free. Otherwise, you are sucking on the same thing as a sugary Jolley Rancher. The sugar from the cough drop will lead to cavity-causing bacteria and acid, which can leave a hole in your teeth. While it may help you recover from the a cold or flu, you may end up visiting your local Sacramento dentist at Midtown Dental.

Rinse Your Mouth after Vomiting

A common side effect associated with the flu is unpleasant vomiting. When you vomit, gastric acid from your stomach enters your mouth. These acids are incredibly harsh, as they are meant to break down food during the digestive process. Unfortunately, these acids can be very harmful to your teeth and they can erode the protective enamel coating. While our natural reaction may be brushing your teeth right away, it’s actually better to wait an hour or longer. If you brush immediately after vomiting, you are basically spreading the acid all over your teeth, leading to more harm. A better option that is not harmful to the teeth is to rinse your mouth with a mixture of baking soda and water. This will help kill the acid that affects your dental hygiene.

Taking Care of Your Oral Hygiene This Cold and Flu Season

As the cold season and flu virus continues to intensify, it’s important to keep in mind not only the health of our bodies, but also our oral health. Following some of these simple suggestions will help you combat the flu virus, while also taking care of your teeth and preventing cavities. If you have any questions or want any further information, do not hesitate to contact our Sacramento dental office at (916) 441-5800.

Call today at (916) 441–5800 to learn more about our dental services.