6 ways to look after your teeth when you have the flu
People can catch the flu at any time of the year. When it happens to you, all you’ll want to do is rest in bed until you’re better. Your dental health will probably be the last thing on your mind.
However, taking care of your teeth is important, especially when you’re sick. Did you know there are a few simple things you can do when you’re ill to take care of your oral health? Read on to find out more.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick. This will keep you hydrated and will also prevent dry mouth, a condition that can put you at a greater risk of cavities.
Pick the right fluids
What type of beverage is best when you’re ill? The answer isn’t that surprising: it’s water. In fact, water is the best beverage even when you’re not sick. That’s because it has a neutral pH that reduces acidity in your mouth. And of course, water is also sugar-free.
You might be tempted to chug down cup after cup of tea to warm you up. This can help you feel better, but do keep in mind that tea can stain your teeth when you drink it every day.
Don’t add sugar or lemon to your fluids
You might think that a spoon of sugar or a slice of lemon in your drink will help you get better. The truth is that it’s bad for your teeth: sugar can cause cavities while lemon is acidic.
Buy sugar-free cough drops
Cough drops are a good idea when you’re sick because they help to prevent dry mouth. But do make sure you buy the sugar-free versions of cough drops. This is because regular cough drops contain around three to four grams of sugar, which is the same amount as many types of sweets! The sugar in them will simply feed the bacteria in your mouth that cause plaque and decay. So remember – sugar-free is the way to go.
Don’t share your toothbrush
When you brush your teeth, you leave behind tiny droplets of saliva on your toothbrush that contain the flu virus. The flu virus can then live on your toothbrush for up to 72 hours. If someone else were to use your toothbrush, there is a very high chance they would contract the virus and fall sick as well. So if you have the flu, then don’t let anyone else use your toothbrush. Toothbrush sharing helps the flu virus to spread.
Don’t brush your teeth after vomiting
One unpleasant symptom of the flu is vomiting. Did you know that when you vomit, your stomach acids come into contact with your teeth and temporarily make them vulnerable? This is why it’s important not to brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. Brushing your teeth at this point could wear some of your enamel away. So instead of brushing, simply rinse your mouth with water and then wait for half an hour before brushing.