It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the least wonderful time of year. That’s because winter isn’t all holiday fun and winter games – it’s cold and flu season, too. Yuck! This winter, don’t let the cold and flu catch you off guard. Try these oral health tips for reducing your risk of letting a gnarly virus stop you from enjoying all that winter has to offer.
Take a Shot
No, not the kind of shot you get at holiday parties (although that might be more fun) – a flu shot! Get your flu shot every year. Sure, it may not cover all strains of flu, but it’s still well worth it to get one. There’s a lot of confusion out there about the flu shot, but know this: It’s not an antibiotic, you cannot grow resistant to it, and it contains an inactive strain of the virus researchers think will be most common each year. The body then builds antibodies to fight the virus, so if the live virus shows up, your body knows exactly what to do.
Keep It Fluid
Fluids are vitally important in the cold and flu season because staying hydrated can keep viruses away. Staying hydrated also helps you flush the virus out of your system if you do get sick.
Change Toothbrushes Frequently
Changing toothbrushes more frequently in winter helps prevent germs from getting into your mouth via the brush. Never share toothbrushes with anyone – sick or otherwise (sharing brushes can spread gingivitis) – and if you’ve been sick, throw away your brush, as you can get sick again from the germs left behind on your toothbrush!
Don’t Share Cups
If your family shares a rinsing cup in the bathroom, switch over to disposable paper cups. It’s much easier and more sanitary. Cold and flu germs, as well as s. mutans bacteria, which cause cavities, can also be transmitted by sharing cups.
Wash Your Hands
It goes without saying that you should wash your hands as often as needed every day of the year, but it becomes vitally important during cold and flu season. It takes just seconds to touch something that someone with a cold coughed on and then later put that same hand in or near your mouth. The next thing you know? Flu. Better pack a sanitizer while you’re at it!
Should you get sick despite your best efforts, don’t forget: Use mouthwash, as it will help freshen your breath when you are coughing, and if you need cough drops, look for the sugar-free variety, as they will not coat your teeth with that yummy sugar s. mutans bacteria love so much.
Have a safe and healthy winter, and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lesko, please call 970-221-5115.