Taking Care of your Mouth when you have the Flu

8 Tips to Maintain Your Oral Health When You’re Sick

Having the flu can be draining and sometimes basic, everyday tasks (like brushing your teeth) can be difficult. It is important to take care of your teeth at all times, but with the change in seasons many people experience the dreaded flu and struggle to maintain good oral hygiene while they are feeling under the weather.

The flu can weaken your immune system which increases your chances of oral infections if you do not take care of your mouth.

A good time to start focusing on getting better is when the symptoms first start to present itself. Symptoms include:

• A sore throat
• Blocked nose
• Fever
• Night sweating
• Loss of appetite
• Ear aches
• Body aches and pains.

Here are a few tips to help you take care of your dental hygiene:

1. Drink a lot of water
Water is great for your body and does not contain staining agents or sugar which is your teeth’s number one enemy! Keeping hydrated not only helps you get better faster but it also prevents you from developing a dry mouth caused by dehydration. A dry mouth means that your body is not producing enough saliva – this causes more bacteria to infest your mouth and settle on your teeth and in your gums. Dry mouth can result in:

• Tooth decay
• Tooth discolouration
• Tooth sensitivity
• Bad breath.

2. Brushing your teeth
Having a clean mouth will make you feel better as well reduce bacteria build up. A good tip is to not forget to clean your toothbrush as germs can live in moist surfaces for up to 72 years. Try not to share a toothbrush with another person as this can introduce new infections or spread your current virus. Soak your brush in warm water for about 10 minutes before using it.

3. Rinse mouth with salt water
Your body will naturally produce more bacteria while you’re sick and salt water will assist in killing them.

4. Do not brush straight after vomiting
If you are vomiting, wait at least 20 minutes before brushing. The acid from your stomach is brought up and coats your teeth and tongue. This acid softens your enamel and it will be easier for it to strip off your teeth while brushing. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and decay.

5. Choose sugar-free cough mixture
Most cough syrups contain a fair amount of sugar, fructose or corn syrup. Cavity-causing bacteria feast on these sugars as the syrup coats your mouth, causing your enamel to breakdown faster.

6. Rinse after you vomit
This will get rid of the stomach acid that coats your teeth without stripping away your enamel.

7. Choose wisely
Warm drinks like tea and coffee are fine if they have a limited amount of sugar. Sports drinks also contain a lot of sugar. Put a few drops of lemon in your tea as safe & healthy alternative to sugar. The lemon will assist in healing.

8. Eat Healthy
Your diet will help build your immune system to fight against the flu virus. Along with taking your prescribed medication and antibiotics, eating and drinking the right food that is rich in antioxidants will help you fight off the flu virus faster.
Some choices include:
• Coconut water which is rich in electrolytes
• Vegetable juice
• Garlic
• Ginger
• Bananas
• Oranges
• Protein like turkey or chicken soup
• Tomato cocktail
• Wholegrain toast
• Smoothies with fresh fruit or vegetables
• Green tea and lemon.

To learn more about dental hygiene and oral health from the friendly team at Anthony Spink Dental Suite, book an appointment today!