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Oddly enough, when someone is sick with a cold or a flu bug and are tempted to skip their daily oral care routine, you might want to think twice. You can actually feel better when you have a clean mouth.

Particularly when you have a bug that keeps you down for a week or two to fully recover, it’s vital that you keep on track with your brushing and flossing habits. Here are some ideas to keep your smile healthy while you are recovering:

#1 Brushing and flossing every day keeps harmful plaque away and your teeth and gums healthy. With the flu, the CDC says that the virus can survive for 73 hours on moist surfaces–like your toothbrush. So play it safe and keep your toothbrush from touching other surfaces. And if it is already 3-4 months old, consider replacing it.

#2 Coughs are caused by viruses and bacteria, and the most common cause is a respiratory infection (cold or flu). To help soothe your throat, you might be relying on cough drops and lozenges. Read the label before you buy to make sure yours are sugar-free. Corn syrup and fructose-containing cough drops will only feed the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.

#3 Along with the stomach flu you might find yourself vomiting frequently. The stomach acids that come up when you get sick can coat the teeth and erode enamel, making you prone to cavities. Don’t brush right away though. Wait 30 minutes to dilute the acids by either rinsing well with plain water, diluted mouthwash, or a baking soda and water solution (1 tsp of baking soda to a cup of water).

#4 Doctor’s recommend staying hydrated while getting over a cold or flu, and that is just as important for your oral health as it is your body. Dry mouth can result when the mouth produces insufficient saliva. This is good for bacteria and bad for your teeth and gums. Particularly if you are taking decongestants, painkillers or antihistamines. So drink lots of water along with your broths and herbal teas.

Maintain your healthy smile even if you have a cold or flu. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our Thomas E Ouellette, DDS, PC team at 303.296.1402 . Our caring dentist and staff in Denver, Colorado are here for you!