How To Prevent And Treat Gum Disease
- February 8, 2018
Every winter, despite efforts to vaccinate and practice regular hand washing, millions of Americans come down with the flu. Flu season — which peaks from December to February — is never pleasant, but this year’s iteration has Connecticut officials reporting “widespread influenza activity,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And though it’s probably the last thing on your mind when you’re under the weather, it’s important to remember to care for your smile. After all, your oral health reflects and influences your overall wellness!
Read on to learn about ways you can keep your mouth, yourself, and those around you safe while you’re on the mend.
No matter the season, remember that Gentle Dental Care wants to work with you to improve your oral health! From routine checkups and cleanings to dental crowns and implants, you can get the comfortable, high-quality care you need in our Plainville, CT office! Call us at (860) 479-2397 to schedule an appointment.
1. Don’t Neglect Your Regular Dental Hygiene Routine.
You wouldn’t neglect washing your hands just because you’re sick. And while even the most mundane tasks feel monumental when you have the flu, it’s important to maintain your normal brushing and flossing habits while you’re sick. That’s because you’re more likely to be sitting on the couch while you recover, drinking ginger ale and eating saltine crackers. The sugars from these substances can be major drivers of tooth decay and gum disease if they’re left to linger on teeth.
As an added bonus, the mintiness of your toothpaste could provide some temporary relief if you’re experiencing nausea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint can soothe an upset stomach and other unpleasant sensations.
2. But Don’t Brush Immediately After Vomiting.
It’s unpleasant to think about, but vomiting while you’re ill exposes your teeth to the acids in your stomach. Unfortunately, these acids weaken enamel, which is the hard outer layer of your teeth that protects them against decay.
And while it’s tempting to brush your teeth right away after an episode of nausea, it’s actually better to wait.
Instead, rinse and spit with a solution of water and a teaspoon of baking soda. You can also use a diluted mouthwash. This removes the acidic coating left on your team after vomiting. Then in about half an hour, it should be safe to brush.
3. Stay Hydrated, But Avoid Sugary Drinks.
Dehydration isn’t just unpleasant. It can compromise your oral health! Dry mouth actually increases your risk of cavities. That’s because dry mouth is caused by a decrease in your production of saliva, an important protection against tooth decay.
Saliva helps remove lingering food particles from your teeth that would otherwise attract bacteria. If you’re experiencing dry mouth — the effects of which can be amplified by some medications — you can make up for the deficit of saliva by staying hydrated.
But, not all beverages are equal when it comes to effects on your dental health. Avoid sugar-filled drinks like soft drinks, sports drinks, and juices. Of course, water is best. But if you find yourself needing a little something sweet while you’re sick, either dilute your beverage or drink some water alongside it.
4. Reschedule Your Visit To The Dentist.
Yes, the rule is generally to come for a routine checkup every six months. But this probably goes without saying: If you have the flu, it’s best to reschedule. Not only will you not feel like going anywhere, but the flu is easily passed from one person to another.
In fact, some experts think that the flu can spread to someone up to six feet away via droplets made when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks!
If you happen to have the flu on a day you’re scheduled to visit us, the friendly administrative team at Gentle Dental Care would be happy to help you reschedule. Take the time to recover! We’ll be glad to see you when you’re feeling better.
5. Replace Your Toothbrush When You’re Feeling Better.
Now, this one’s the subject of much debate. Some people say you’re unlikely to re-infect yourself by using the toothbrush you used while you were sick. But others say that viruses and bacteria that live on the toothbrush can cause entirely new illnesses to develop.
Our suggestion: Play it safe, especially if your toothbrush is about three months old. That’s how long you should be keeping your toothbrush before replacing it, regardless of any illnesses.
Excellent Dental Care In Any Season
Of course, we hope you’ll be able to evade the flu this season. We want you to enjoy optimal health, starting with your smile!