Protecting Your Teeth During Cold and Flu Season

While it’s easy to think of oral health and other aspects of wellness as separate, the two are definitely connected. With the current pandemic still going on in the world, it can be easy to overlook the fact that cold and flu season is here. During this time of year when you are more likely to get sick, it’s important to know how to protect your teeth.

Keep Up With Brushing Your Teeth

There are a lot of things about cold and flu season that can put your oral health at risk that many people don’t really think about. For one, if you’re trying to keep sore throats and scratchiness at bay, you’ll probably be sucking on cough drops like they’re candy. Well, in many ways, cough drops sort of are candy.

Many varieties of cough drops contain sugar to make them more pleasant to have in your mouth for a long time. But this extended sugar exposure will put you more at risk for tooth decay since sugar promotes bacteria growth.

You may also be increasing your sugar exposure through other methods of preventing colds and the flu. In particular, a popular choice for increasing vitamin C levels is to consume more oranges or orange juice. While it’s a great idea to give your immunity a boost, keep in mind that eating fruits or drinking fruit juice also means consuming more sugar.

By brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing at least once per day, you will reduce your chances of tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy while you fight off a bug or virus. Plus, you’ll enjoy a brighter smile and fresher breath during the fall and winter.

Look For Sugar-Free Medicines

The raw forms of medicines aren’t exactly appetizing, so drugmakers add sugar to the recipes to make cold and flu medicines more palatable. Since they are formulated to promote wellness, people don’t really consider the sugar content, but it’s definitely there. When looking for cough syrup, cough drops, or other types of cold and flu remedies, be sure to look for sugar-free varieties that will be easier on your teeth.

Replace Your Toothbrush

Ideally, you should be replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. This helps ensure your bristles are strong enough to effectively clean away plaque, but it also helps you avoid cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush that has bacteria accumulation.

During cold and flu season, it may be a good idea to replace your toothbrush a bit more often. And after you’ve recovered from a cold or flu, it’s also a good idea to throw out the toothbrush you used while you were sick and use a new one to avoid the risk of getting reinfected.

By avoiding sugar, keeping your teeth clean, and replacing your toothbrush often, you can help yourself get through cold and flu season with cleaner teeth and fewer instances of getting sick. You should also drink plenty of water to keep your teeth rinsed and to give yourself an even better chance of staying healthy.

When you start orthodontic treatment at Smith Orthodontics, we’ll give you tips to properly clean your teeth for a better smile both during and after treatment. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!