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How to look after your teeth in cold and flu season

Winter is coming – and with it, nasty colds. Many people get the sniffles or worse at least once over winter, leaving you miserable, bedridden and possibly at a higher risk of tooth decay.

Here is how to take care of your teeth when you get sick.

Good oral hygiene becomes even more important when you’re sick.

1. Protect against germs

Good oral hygiene becomes even more important when you’re sick. Remember to always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently, and most importantly, don’t let anyone else use your toothbrush.

It’s also a good idea to replace your toothbrush after being ill. While you won’t have to worry about it re-infecting you, as your immune system will already be strengthened against the bugs that made you sick, you can minimise the risk of transferring those nasties to someone else’s toothbrush.

2. Choose sugar-free lozenges

Sore throats are incredibly uncomfortable and one of the best ways to soothe them is to suck on a soothing lozenge. Just make sure you choose a brand that is sugar-free. The ones that contain sugar are as bad as lollies when it comes to your dental health because you keep them in your mouth for a long time, exposing your teeth to sugar.

The same advice goes for cough drops – remember that ingredients like fructose and honey can be as damaging as sugar.

Make sure you choose sugar-free lozenges when you're sick. Make sure you choose sugar-free lozenges when you’re sick.

3. Stay hydrated

Dry mouth can be a common side affect to a winter cold or fever, as it’s easy to become dehydrated. You can also end up sleeping with your mouth open because of a blocked nose, which can dry your mouth out further. A dry mouth can compromise the health of your teeth, speeding up tooth decay and gum disease.

To help keep saliva flowing, be sure to sip on fluids throughout the day – just make sure they are the right ones! You might be tempted to consume energy drinks for the electrolytes, but these aren’t a good choice for your teeth. You should also avoid soft drinks and juices, as these can jeopardise the health of your teeth.

You might be encouraged to drink lemon and honey, too. A hot drink may be comforting, but the sugar and acid in this classic warming beverage can also be detrimental to your oral health.

The best drinks are water or plain unsweetened tea. Chicken soup won’t hurt, either!

The key to good oral health this winter is making the right choices – and that includes scheduling regular dental check ups. To keep your teeth in top condition, make an appointment online or pop in to see our friendly team.

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