With winter here and cold and flu season casting its dark shadow upon us, it’s an important time to remember that your oral health needs change when you are sick. Here are a few vital tips to remember if you are one of the 20 percent of Americans who will get the flu this year, or one of the millions of Americans who will get the common cold – maybe even multiple times!
Never, Ever Share Anything That Goes in Your Mouth
Toothbrushes, cups and utensils should never be shared, even if you and the person you are sharing with are perfectly healthy. Not only does sharing these items pass along germs, but it can also pass along dangerous bacteria that can cause cavities and even gingivitis. That’s right – you can actually transfer gum disease to someone else via a shared toothbrush!
Watch Out for Hidden Sugar
When you’re sick, the last thing you should be worrying about is your sugar intake, but as the old Mary Poppins song goes, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” But while that may be true, it’s not exactly great for your teeth. Unfortunately, many over-the-counter cold products are full of sugar. So while you can’t necessarily avoid the sugar content in your favorite cough drops, you can look for a brand that offers sugar-free options.
Our advice? Stock up on medicine before you get sick. That way you’ll have time to be selective, and if you eventually do get sick you’ll only have to go as far as your medicine cabinet to get some relief.
Brush Your Teeth
Listen, we’ve all been there. When you’re not feeling well, all you want to do is lie in bed and rest. Getting up to brush your teeth isn’t exactly a high priority – but it should be. Between those sticky, sweet medicines and the germs in your mouth from coughing, brushing your teeth while sick is very important. Make an effort to get out of bed at least twice a day to brush your teeth and get some blood flowing to your limbs.
It may not seem like that big of a deal to sniffle when you’re sick, but sniffling sends all those nasty germs down your throat, causing bad breath and lingering germs. Keep a pack of tissues at hand, and to avoid sinus pressure (which can make teeth hurt), don’t blow your nose, but wait for it to run and then wipe it.
During an illness, it’s natural to want comfort foods, but some of them aren’t good for you and others may not be so great for your teeth. Stick to foods that are good for you and your teeth. They will help provide all the nutrients your body needs to help fight whatever is ailing you.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lesko, please call 970-221-5115.