December 15, 2018
The height of flu season are the months of December through March, which means there’s a chance you’ll be taking some form of medication, but what effect will it have on your oral health? Read on to learn about 4 flu season tips that will enhance your dental wellness.
The Effect of Decongestants
One of the more common ways of treating flu symptoms is to take a decongestant form of medication. Its main purpose is to treat the condition of a runny nose, but it can have a negative effect on your oral health.
In the process of drying the nasal passageway to stop drainage, a decongestant can also create a dry environment in your mouth, which can lead to increased bacteria growth. A way to combat this is to drink more water while taking the medication to help to keep your mouth moist and lessen the development of bacteria.
Cough Drops and the Potential Risk
Another frequently used product during flu season is a cough drop, which is used to soothe an itchy or sore throat. The problem presented is that this type of product typically contains unhealthy amounts of sugar. Thus, in seeking relief, you could possibly be creating another issue – tooth decay.
A solution is to look for sugar-free cough drops so you can rest assured that your efforts to feel better won’t cause problems down the road.
Cough Medicine – More Sugar to Attack Your Teeth
An annoying cough can be bothersome, so it’s normal to seek relief through taking a cough suppressant. The challenge presented, however, is that to create a more pleasing taste, many brands contain excessive amounts of sugar.
If there are no sugar-free alternatives available, then the next best thing to do is to practice consistent oral hygiene. Thus, around an hour after taking the medication, you should be sure to brush and floss your teeth to remove the sugary coating on your teeth.
The Problem Posed by Hot Tea
Maybe the most recognizable way of soothing flu symptoms is to drink a cup of hot tea. It can not only soothe your throat, but it can also help to calm an upset stomach.
The issue, though, is that drinking hot tea can have corrosive effects on your teeth. Furthermore, the addition of sugar can exacerbate the negative effects.
One strategy is to drink through a straw to decrease the amount of damage you’ll have to incur.
Along with implementing the above methods of prevention, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist for a preventive care appointment during flu season. By removing any plaque and tartar along your teeth and at the gumline and checking for any developing issues, you can not only protect your oral health, but you can also take a stance against developing flu symptoms.
About the Author
Dr. Katie Montgomery is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. She has since gone on to embark on an over decade-long journey to help patients enjoy the best in oral health. Dr. Montgomery practices at Montgomery Family Dental, and she can be reached for more information through her website.
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