Coughing, sneezing, running nose, sore throat -‐ with the changing leaves, the rainy weather, and the dropping temperatures comes the inevitable cold and flu season. Here are our top five tips to make the best of this time of year – helping you prevent infection, speed up your recovery time and get back to feeling like yourself again.
1.Keep hand sanitizer handy. If you’re exposed to the flu virus (which can happen by simply touching any surface harboring the germ), then touch your mouth – you can compromise your teeth and gums – and increase your risk of developing cold and flu.
Always wash your hands as frequently as possible, try to use hand sanitizer after touching any shared public surfaces that could be contaminated with a nasty virus. We suggest leaving hand wipes or a small sanitizer bottle in your purse, backpack or car consul for easy access and disinfection.
2. Gargle frequently with salt water or mouthwash.
If you have fallen victim to a dreaded sore throat -‐ gargling with salt water, or a mouthwash approved for use on sore throats, can help kill-‐off throat causing germs and speed up your recovery. Even better? They can also have a temporary soothing effect on such a tender area while sick.
3. Stay Hydrated with the Right Fluids. Drinking plenty of water will help your body to fight the virus, and keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth (a common result of cold or flu) is unhealthy for your teeth, because you need a steady flow of saliva to fend off plaque and fight tooth decay. Another great option to sooth your sore throat and warm you up? A warm cup of *sugar-‐free* tea.
When sick, you might be tempted to opt for pick-‐me-‐up beverages such as electrolyte-‐infused sports drinks. While they may give you that little burst of energy you’re craving, these drinks are often very high in sugar -‐ which can be problematic for your teeth in high volumes. If you opt for juice, it is important to remember that moderation is key. Try to follow any sweet beverages with a glass of water to wash away those harmful sugars.
4. Sugar-Free Cough Drops.
Cough drops are a man or woman’s best friend when sick. In addition to helping sooth a sore throat and stop those irritating coughing fits that always seem to occur at the most inconvenient of times, they also keep the flow of saliva flowing – preventing dry mouth and protecting your teeth and gums.
Any other medications to alleviate the symptoms of your cold or flu should also be sugar free. You can find plenty of smile-‐friendly options at your local drug store.
5. Replace your toothbrush .
PSA: Using a toothbrush that was used while fighting an infection can cause are-‐infection!Even when healthy ,you should change your toothbrush regularly, as they can become a breeding ground for germs and microorganisms. We recommend purchasing a new brush every three months – your teeth, gums and overall health will thank you.
Yours in good oral health,
– Dr. Ed Lowe Centre for Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry