Protect your oral health during cold and flu season

When the temperatures start to drop across the United States, cold and flu season officially begins. This season typically begins in October and it can last all the way through May. You should already be getting the annual flu shot to minimize your risk of contracting the flu, and while best practices such as washing your hands regularly, getting plenty of sleep and eating right can help fend off the common cold, chances are you won't get through the season completely unscathed. However, a runny nose, sore throat or cough has the potential to wreak havoc on your teeth and gums too. This post will take a closer look at how to maintain good oral health during cold and flu season.

Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health During Cold and Flu Season

The key to maintaining a healthy mouth during cold and flu season is minimizing bacteria inside of it. Here's how to do it:

  • Drink plenty of water: A sore throat and runny nose can really dry out your mouth. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath, help accelerate tooth decay and even cause damage to your gums, as bacteria is less likely to be washed away by saliva. Drinking plenty of water can help offset dry mouth.

  • Use sugar-free cough drops: You should always try to consume sugar in moderation. That said, we'd suggest taking sugar-free or herbal cough drops when you're treating a sore throat.

Learn more about other foods and drinks to avoid to protect your smile.

  • Brush and floss: Even if you're under the weather, you don't want to skip brushing and flossing. That's because these two crucial oral care practices are necessary for keeping the teeth clean and minimizing plaque buildup around the gums. We get it can be tempting to skip brushing and flossing when you're not feeling good, but doing so ensures bacteria will likely continue to build up inside the mouth.

  • Replace your toothbrush: If you've been sick, be sure to get a new toothbrush. You don't want to re-introduce the same germs into your mouth after you've kicked the cold.

When replacing your toothbrush, make sure to choose the right one. Learn more here.

  • Use mouthwash: Mouthwash is typically suggested as an optional oral care step, but it can be especially helpful during cold and flu season. That's because a good mouthwash helps eradicate bacteria from the mouth, thereby keeping it cleaner and healthier.

Finally, we also highly suggest seeing your dentist regularly. This is the best way to keep your mouth healthy - especially in cold and flu season.

For more information on how to maintain your oral health in cold and flu season, contact Kanehl Dental today.