Worried about the Flu Season or Recovering? Your Oral Hygiene Habits Can Help

Flu season is upon us and anyone looking to escape without getting sick has probably heard all kinds of well-intentioned advice ranging from “Wash your hands frequently,” to “Stay at least five feet away from everyone until this is over.” But did you know that certain good oral hygiene habits can lower your chances of getting sick? Did you also know that if you are sick, good oral hygiene can help you feel better faster?

Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth

When you’re well, brushing your teeth and swishing with Listerine can help kill germs. When you’re sick, cleaning your mouth by brushing your teeth can help you feel better. When in doubt, it’s best to replace your toothbrush, but the risk of reinfecting yourself is very low. As long as you don’t share your toothbrush with another person (which no one should do, at any time), practicing good oral hygiene while you’re sick can help improve your situation.

Here are a few other flu season related tips:

  • Avoid Sugar: If you have a cough, buy sugar-free cough drops. Hard candy is a huge contributor to cavities and many cough drops contain sugars that could rot your teeth. A sugar-free cough drop can avoid this problem and soothe your throat without decaying your smile.
  • Stomach Bug? Rinse and Wait Thirty Minutes and Then Brush Your Teeth: Brushing your teeth after throwing up can help you feel cleaner and better, but if you brush your teeth right away, you could be rubbing acid into your enamel. The key is to rinse out your mouth by swishing and spitting until the acid is gone. You can rinse with water, a mouthwash, or a mixture of water and 1 tsp of baking soda. Thirty minutes after you’ve rinsed, brush your teeth.
  • Drink Lots of Water: During the flu season, it’s important to stay hydrated. The best beverage you can choose is water. Water can help you stay healthy or recover faster and avoid dry mouth.

Dr. Rosenfeld and our team want you to have a healthy and happy winter. We hope that these tips can help you feel your best and enjoy a lasting, comfortable smile.