When you are sick with a cold or the flu, you are suddenly hyper-aware of how germs are everywhere: From coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, and drooling on your pillows when you pass out from exhaustion.

But even if you stay home from work and limit your activity level, there are things that must go on as usual, such as eating, showering, and oral hygiene.

So what can you do to keep your pearly whites and gums healthy when you’re feeling under the weather?

5 Ways to Practice Good Oral Hygiene While Sick

1. Keep brushing your teeth regularly. Don’t think for one minute that having a cold or feeling like a truck ran you over because of the flu gives you a green light to slack on this. In fact, you’re not going to catch any more germs from using the same toothbrush you’ve been using while sick.

2. Gargle with mouthwash. This is an easy way to kill bacteria inside your mouth. Not only does it take care of the kind that causes plaque and gingivitis, according to Kaiser Permanente, it can also kill bacteria that’s irritating your throat.

3. Stay hydrated. Among the many uncomfortable symptoms people have to deal with when sick, is a dry mouth. Not only does it make your throat feel even more irritated, it also makes the inside of your mouth feel foul. Otherwise known as xerostomia, dry mouth is a result of an inadequate flow of saliva. Since saliva helps prevent tooth decay, it’s important to keep your mouth lubricated.

4. Avoid sugary snacks. Being sick zaps the energy out of you, so you are less likely to get up after every meal to brush your teeth. However, the acids and bacteria are conducting their business as usual inside your mouth. So reduce plaque buildup, limit your meals to when you’re genuinely hungry (as opposed to eating out of habit or boredom), and keep your sugar intake to a minimum.

5. If you vomit, wait half an hour to brush. We know. This sounds absolutely disgusting, but the reality is that when you throw up, acids from your stomach come through your mouth. If you brush immediately, you rub all that acid against your teeth. This erodes tooth enamel, and makes your pearly whites prime for cavities. So if your last meal comes back up, rinse your mouth with water for several seconds, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Contact Impeccable Smiles for Dental Care in Tampa

Being sick is awful. Don’t let the cold or flu ruin your pearly whites. If you’re concerned about proper care or treatment, let us help you.

Call us or schedule an appointment online.