Somehow it always happens: winter shows signs of ebbing, and you find yourself laid up in bed with a cold (or worse, the flu).
It can be difficult to find the energy to do anything when you’re hit with illness… and you’re likely not focusing on what sort of havoc it’s wreaking on your teeth. But the harsh reality is the things you do in an attempt to improve your overall health can damage your oral health.
Let’s take a closer look.
Many of us grab for the orange juice when we get sick to increase our Vitamin C intake, without stopping to think how acidic and sugary the juice is. The acid and sugar work together to double-duty destroy the enamel of your teeth.
The fix: A better alternative is to reach for water (research actually shows Vitamin C has little to no effect on illness). If you must consume juice, drink from a straw, and try not to sip throughout the day.
It can be hard to get yourself out of bed or off the couch for anything when you’re under the weather, and many people skimp on brushing and flossing. This negligence, combined with the other ways we ignore our teeth when we’re sick, can add up fast.
The fix: Try your best to brush at least twice a day, even if you can’t convince yourself to take the time to floss.
A stuffed up nose can cause all sorts of problems, but the most obvious is how it impedes your ability to breathe normally, forcing you to breathe through your mouth. Doing so can lead to a dry mouth, making it harder for saliva to wash away sugar and other food debris.
The fix: Stay hydrated, and remember how helpful nasal decongestants can be! (Check with your doctor or pharmacist for recommendations.)
Ah, the sweet relief that medication and cough drops can bring… but at what cost? Sticky cough syrups and sugary cough drops can coat your teeth in sugar and be hard on enamel.
The fix: Luckily, it’s easy: opt for cold medication in pill form, and choose sugar-free cough drops.
If you’re plagued by the stomach flu, there’s another teeth-torturer to worry about: vomit. We won’t go into too much detail, but believe us when we say this is very acidic and destroys enamel.
The fix: Make sure to rinse your mouth with water, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing (as the enamel is weakened by exposure to acid).
Being sick is certainly not fun, but neither are cavities. Get your rest, stay hydrated, and do your best to stay away from pesky sugar and acid.
Wishing you a healthy season,
Chanhassen Family Dentistry