Take Care of Your Teeth When Sick

It’s that time of year when we hear reminders to get flu shots against the upcoming “flu season.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu threat becomes greater as early as October and lasts until May. It’s recommended that everyone, young and old, get a flu vaccine as a preventive measure. Nevertheless, if you get sick despite your best efforts to prevent illness, how can you protect your teeth? Our Placerville dentists have some tips for protecting you and your family.

First, do your best to stick with your daily oral care routine. Don’t forget to brush and floss! It’s also important to never share your toothbrush with anyone at anytime. The flu virus may survive on surfaces, like a toothbrush, sink handles or countertops, for up to 72 hours. Protect yourself and your family by practicing good sanitation habits, like washing your hands before eating, after using the restroom, and always cover your sneeze with your arm, not your hands.

One dreaded flu symptom is vomiting. This is a more common problem for children than adults, but it’s important for everyone to rinse, not brush, after vomiting. Stomach acids from vomit coat the teeth, and if you brush right away, the outer layer of the teeth is rubbed off. So swish with plain water to wash the acids away, then brush your teeth.

To combat sore throat while protecting the teeth, use sugarless cough drops. Regular cough drops contain a lot of sugar and the longer that drop stays in your mouth, the more fuel you provide for cavity-causing bacteria. Sugarless cough drops deprive bacteria and thus protect your tooth enamel.

Finally, if you are sick with the flu or a cold, our dental office would rather you reschedule your appointment. You probably don’t feel like leaving the house and our other patients would prefer you stay quarantined at home! We can certainly provide you with the next available appointment once you are healed.


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