It’s tempting to give up basic hygiene when you’re feeling under the weather, but these tips for caring for your mouth can help you feel better sooner.
Everyone knows one of the best ways to prevent getting a cold is by washing your hands. But what if, despite your best efforts, you find yourself sniffling and sneezing your way into the winter season? You may be tempted to skip brushing your teeth if you experience any discomfort.
Here are some tips to make cold and flu season a little easier:
Cover Your Mouth and Nose – If you don’t have a tissue handy when you need to sneeze or cough, in a pinch, sneeze into the crook of your elbow. It makes you look a little like a vampire, but it helps prevent germs spreading. Cold and flu germs can’t survive on clothing for long. Just remember to wash your hands afterward to avoid the spread of bacteria so that the office bug doesn’t keep making the rounds.
Consider Replacing Your Toothbrush – If you’ve just had a common cold that lasts a week or so, you can keep your toothbrush. But, if your brush is 3-4 months old or you’ve had the flu or other sustained illness like bronchitis or pneumonia, consider tossing it and getting a new one. Toothbrushes are a prime candidate for bacterial growth, so never share them even when you’re healthy. You can also sterilize your toothbrush by placing it in a few inches of water in a microwave-safe container and heating it for 2 minutes.
Use Sugar-Free Cough Syrup and Throat Lozenges – Some brands of cough drops are hard candies in disguise, loaded with sugar and not much else. While they may soothe the soreness by making your mouth produce saliva, they are bathing your teeth in sugar that oral bacteria feed on. If taken several times a day over a week, you could develop a cavity. If you opt to take cough syrup, be sure to read the label and avoid products sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration – Even when your body is well, getting enough fluids is essential, and when you’re sick, it’s even more important. Staying well-hydrated also helps thin mucus and drain the sinuses. If you’re taking antihistamines or decongestants, be sure to drink a little extra water because they can dry out your mouth, making you more susceptible to cavities. Water is the best choice to stay hydrated, but breathing in the steam as you sip a nice cup of hot broth or tea with raw honey may help soothe a raw nose.
Consider Canceling – We hate for you to miss an appointment, but if you have a fever or have vomited in the last 24 hours, we ask that you consider rescheduling your appointment so you don’t risk the spread of germs to our team.
While chances are you will get at least one cold this season, there are steps you can take to lessen the symptoms so you can feel like yourself again.