When you’re sick, the last thing on you probably have on your mind is taking care of your teeth. But regardless of how miserable you feel, taking care of your teeth and gums while you’re sick is just as important as when you’re healthy—perhaps even more important. If you’ve caught a bug going around here are a couple facts you should keep in mind:
- Weaker Immune System — Typically, when you’re sick your body’s immune system isn’t at its peak condition. Other threats much more important in your body, bacteria and plaque, face much less opposition in growth and expansion in your mouth. A weakened immune system also puts you more at risk of undesirable dental afflictions such as gum disease.
- You Won’t Feel Like Brushing — Being bedridden with fever dreams is no fun, and it often causes the side effect of making you not want to brush your teeth. But, of course this is the last thing you should do, as it only continues the spread of bacteria in your mouth.
- Dehydration — Because sickness often leads to dehydration, that also means your body will produce less saliva. Saliva is a crucial tool of your body to fight off plaque in the mouth, and when you’re dehydrated you’ve lost a valuable ally.
- Acidic “Side-Effects” — Being sick often puts your teeth in contact with many more acidic substances than usual- from cold medicine to orange juice, being sick often means that your teeth are exposed to more wear and tear than usual. If you have a stomach virus that induces vomiting, that too can also cause acidic damage to your teeth.
Because of all these additional threats and side-effects that come along with an illness, it is more important than ever to take proper care of your teeth when you’re sick. Brush twice a day and floss if necessary. If you’re so ill this is a difficult task, at least stay hydrated. This will help keep your body’s saliva production up and at least provide basic defenses against the spread of tooth decay.
Finally, remember to throw out your toothbrush or replaceable toothbrush head after being sick, the infectious germs you brushed away while sick may still be living on the brush and could cause reinfection.
If you have any other questions about how sickness can affect your dental health, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. D’Alfonso, contact the Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today.