While winter is winding down, cold and flu season is still in full swing. Just because the weather is slowly warming up does not mean you should let down your guard. Your oral hygiene and habits can help protect you and your family from the flu.
Washington, DC area dentist Dr. Andrew Cobb offers some advice on how to beat the flu this winter while simultaneously improving your oral health. Ramp up your oral health routine to prevent the flu.
Keep Your Toothbrush To Yourself
- You should never share your toothbrush, ever. Sharing toothbrushes not only transmits flue and cold viruses, it can also transfer harmful bacteria that cause gum disease. Keep your germs to yourself and make sure everyone in your home has their own toothbrush.
- Store your toothbrush at least a full 6ft away from the toilet to prevent bacteria from building up in your bristles. Always store your brush bristle side up so it can fully dry in between usage.
- If you have been sick, or anyone in your family has been sick, replace all the toothbrushes in the house to prevent the spread of germs.
Maintain Your Oral Hygiene Routine
- When you feel ill it can be easy to skip your routine dental hygiene routine. We encourage patients to get off the couch to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Maintaining your oral health can help you recover quicker and may provide a much needed pick me up.
- As always, cover your mouth when you sneeze or a cough, and wash your hands as often as possible.
- The stomach flu can be tough on your teeth. Stomach acid is erosive and can damage the enamel of your teeth. If you vomit avoid brushing immediately after to prevent the spread of acid around the surface of your teeth. Try rinsing with baking soda and water to remove acid build up.
Stay Hydrated, Avoid Sugar
- Staying hydrated can make you feel better and helps your body fight off germs. Drinking water can also help keep your . mouth moist preventing dry mouth which increases your risk of tooth decay. Drink plenty of water to stay healthy and fight germs.
- Avoid sugary juices, sports drinks or soda. Sugary beverages increase your risk of developing tooth decay and are not beneficial to your health.
Your oral and systemic health are correlated. Taking care of one helps maintain and improve the health of the other. Brush your teeth, stay hydrated, and always avoid excess sugar intake to enjoy a healthy transition into spring. Schedule your six-month preventative care visit and dental cleaning to help you stay healthy all year round.