When cold and flu season arrives, your teeth may not be on the top of your mind. But having a cold or flu can affect your mouth. Here’s what you can do to keep your teeth healthy.
Being sick can be exhausting, but make sure to brush and floss. Remember to spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth at least twice a day.
Staying hydrated when you're sick is important because your body needs extra fluid to fight infection. Dry mouth is a common problem, especially when you can’t breathe through your nose easily. Saliva helps control cavity-causing bacteria, so dry mouth can increase your chances of cavities and gum disease. Do yourself a favor by loading up on water, soup and juice.
Once you start feeling better, replace your toothbrush. Your old toothbrush can harbor bacteria and easily reinfect you.
Dissolve a tablespoon of salt water in a glass of warm water. Gargle and spit until the water is gone. This helps cut down on harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat, reducing the effects of bad breath and plaque.
Many cough drops and syrups are packed with sugar to sweeten the dose. Even paired with medication, this sugar can cause tooth decay and harm your gums.
Shop smart by looking for medicine that’s sweetened with sugar substitutes like xylitol or sucralose. If you can’t find sugar-free alternatives, make sure to brush or rinse afterwards. If your medicine is acidic, wait at least half an hour before brushing to let your enamel harden.
Last updated October 12, 2021
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.