It’s that time of year again for runny noses, frequent coughing, sleepless nights and unpleasant workdays. During cold and flu season, there’s no end to the number of remedies you can try to overcome your illness, but be careful; many of these treatments could end up damaging your smile as a side effect! Here’s how 4 common remedies might affect your dental health – as well as how you can try and offset the damage.
Decongestants are good for relieving a runny nose, but they can also end up drying out your mouth. This means there’s less saliva to fight bacterial growth in plaque buildup. In other words, you’re more likely to develop cavities or suffer from gum disease. If you use decongestants, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water at all times so that your body stays hydrated and your mouth remains as moist as possible. Sucking on a cough drop or a lozenge can also help boost saliva production while providing further relief.
2. Cough Drops and Lozenges
Unfortunately, cough drops and lozenges are not without there own drawbacks. They are designed to slowly dissolve in your mouth, allowing the ingredients to gradually be spread to the teeth, mouth and throat. In many cases, sugar is one of those ingredients, and the risk it poses to the teeth is well-known. If you don’t want to increase your chances of tooth decay, look for sugar-free cough drops and lozenges. In the event that you do end up using the products that contain sugar, make sure that you brush and floss regularly afterwards.
3. Cough Syrup
Like cough drops, many types of cough syrup use sugar as an ingredient; since the liquid is so sticky, it will remain on your teeth for a while and contribute to tooth decay. Also, sometimes cough syrup may contain alcohol, which in turn dries out your mouth. Because of this, it’s generally preferred to use cough medicine in the form of pills or gel-caps. If using the syrup is unavoidable, the best time to take it is right before a meal, which is when your saliva production will naturally increase. Don’t forget to brush afterwards!
4. Orange Juice
A tall glass of orange juice filled with vitamin C can be just the thing your body needs to fight back against a cold, but be careful; citric beverages can soften the enamel of your teeth and leave them vulnerable to all kinds of damage. Your best bet is to only drink your orange juice at mealtime so that you can easily brush your teeth afterwards; stick to sipping water throughout the rest of the day instead.
The key is to always stay on top of your dental health even while you’re sick. Brush more frequently, drink plenty of fluids, and don’t forget to have a fresh toothbrush ready after you’ve overcome your symptoms. Take the right precautions, and you’ll be able to get through cold and flu season with a smile on your face!
About Polished General Dentistry
At Polished General Dentistry in Carlsbad, Dr. Megan Shelton and Dr. Anna Gute work to exceed your expectations in both the care you receive and the service we provide. Our practice offers various preventive treatments that stop cavities and gum disease from becoming severe problems. If you have concerns about how cold and flus season might be affecting your teeth, you can contact us by visiting our website or calling (760) 434-9800.