We are in the middle of cold and flu season, so you want to protect yourself as best as possible. If you develop either type of virus, though, your dentist says to be mindful of the effects that certain cold and flu remedies can have on your teeth. Read on to find out what you can do to receive the treatment you need without sacrificing your oral health.
The Issue with Decongestants
Decongestants are taken to suppress the mucus build-up that causes runny noses and the congested feeling common with cold or flu. Because it helps to dry your nasal cavity, the decongestant can also bring about dry mouth, which can leave your mouth more vulnerable to bacteria growth.
A remedy is to drink more water and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
Are Cough Drops Bad for Oral Health?
When you have a cold, it’s a typical habit to purchase a bag of cough drops to aid in soothing symptoms like a sore or scratchy throat; and it can be used to lessen coughing spells. There is an issue, though – cough drops are usually high in sugar, which can encourage tooth decay.
An alternative is to use a sugar-free cough drop. However, if you insist on using the kind with sugar added, then it’s best to brush your tooth immediately afterwards.
Orange Juice – Is It Really Helpful?
The premise behind sipping orange juice when you have cold or flu is to saturate the body with vitamin C. The reality, though, is that the latter is more helpful as a preventive measure instead of attempting to use it for treatment after you’re sick.
Still, it can be soothing to drink when you’re under the weather. Just be sure to brush your teeth after each serving to prevent the sugar from settling on your enamel.
Is There a Problem with Hot Tea?
One of the more common rituals when ill is to sip on a hot cup of tea. It has several benefits, which include:
- Soothing your throat
- Easing an upset stomach
- Reducing or preventing headache
Still, consuming tea can cause some detriment to your teeth as its acidic nature can contribute to enamel erosion. Two adjustments you can make are to sip from a straw and to use less sweetener.
The last thing you want is to suffer from an illness that slows you down, but with the right planning, you don’t have to endure the double jeopardy of negatively impacting your oral health while attempting to find relief.
As a means of prevention, reach out to your dentist to schedule a semi-annual visit. Therefore, any lingering bacteria that could contribute to both tooth decay and sickness can be removed.
About the Author
Dr. Gary Sherman earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Since then, he has gone on to deliver over 30 years of expert care. Along with the staff at Franklin Avenue Dental Care, Dr. Sherman helps patients maintain the absolute best in oral health and teaches them how to avoid unnecessary tooth decay. He can be reached for more information through his website.