When Hendricks County residents are feeling under the weather with a cold or the flu, proper dental care is probably the last thing on their minds. However, taking care of your teeth and gums is important especially when you’re sick. In fact, several things you may do while you’re sick can affect your oral health.
Here are five dental care items to be aware of while you’re taking care of yourself when you’re not feeling well:

  1. Practice good hygiene. Cold and flu viruses, that are capable of being transferred to people’s hands, causing an infection, can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. Therefore, when you’re sick, remember to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Wash your hands often while sick to keep viruses from spreading. Never share your toothbrush at any time, but especially when you’re sick.
  2. Use sugar-free cough drops. Many cough drops contain sugar, which the bacteria in your mouth love to feast on. These bacteria produce acid that can cause cavities to form in your teeth. Therefore, choose sugar-free cough drops instead. Also, cough syrup is full of sugar, too. When using cough syrup, rinse your mouth out before you go to bed.
  3. Gargle with mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide. Mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide work to kill germs in your mouth. If you’re not able to brush regularly while you’re sick, at the very least, rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide a couple times a day as a dental care option.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dry mouth. When most people in Hendricks County have a stuffy nose from the cold or flu, they tend to breathe through their mouths, which can lead to dry mouth. Also, many cold and flu medications can dry out your mouth, too. Dry mouth, combined with reduced salvia production, can cause harmful bacteria growth in your mouth, which puts you at a greater risk of cavities. Therefore, drink lots of fluids to wash bacteria away. However, choose your fluids carefully. Don’t drink beverages loaded with sugar. Water is always the best option.
  5. Clean or use a new toothbrush. Boil your toothbrush in hot water for several minutes to kill any germs on your toothbrush to prevent them from spreading. Or, use a new toothbrush while you’re sick. Replace your toothbrush with a new one once you’re well.

At Danville Family Dentistry, we know when you’re sick, you may not feel like brushing or flossing your teeth. However, proper dental care is important every day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. And, remember to schedule regular dental checkups at our Hendricks County office with Dr. Jon Erickson when you’re feeling better.