November 3, 2018
Now that winter is here, it’s officially cold and flu season too. Has your nose started sniffling yet? Or do you have a sore throat? This time of year can cause a variety of annoying health issues that can usually be managed and remedied. But, did you know that some of these common remedies can actually have a negative affect on your teeth? Keep reading to discover some cold and flu season tips to protect your teeth, while still managing your symptoms from your local dentist.
Do You Use Decongestants?
Decongestants combat runny noses by drying them out, but they can also dry out your mouth. Dry mouth reduces saliva flow, which promotes the growth of bacteria on the teeth and gums. This contributes to dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
Because decongestant use is temporary, you can still use them while you fight dry mouth by drinking water. Water will keep your mouth lubricated and wash away bacteria, but you can also chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow.
How Do You Help Throat Soreness?
Cough drops and lozenges are the most common types of relief for a sore throat. Unfortunately, a lot of these products can damage your teeth. Many cough drops contain sugar, which contributes to decay and cavities. Because these products are made to dissolve slowly in your mouth, it allows sugar to coat your teeth and get in your saliva.
The best way to avoid this problem is to choose products that are sugar-free. That way, you can get the same relief without letting your teeth stay in contact with sugar for long periods of time. If you really like a certain cough drop or lozenge with sugar, just be sure to brush your teeth regularly to keep your smile healthy.
Do You Drink Syrup or Liquid Medicines?
Just like cough drops, liquid medicines often contain sugar to make them easier to take. Because these liquids are thick and sticky, they automatically increase your chance of tooth decay by coating your teeth. Some of these products also contain alcohol, which dries out your mouth and makes it harder to wash away sugar.
Your best bet is to try using pills or liquid gel-capsules instead of syrup or liquid to eliminate risk of tooth decay. However, if you really like a certain liquid medicine, be sure to brush your teeth immediately after to remove the coating of sugar on your smile.
Now that you know some of the tips and tricks to deal with cold and flu season, you’re ready for the winter months! Use the above tips to fight sickness head on, while still keeping your teeth healthy.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Alex Martin enjoys providing quality care to his patients in Scottsdale. He believes in patient education, which is why he wants you to know the risks of common remedies during cold and flu season. He currently runs his own practice, and he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (408) 860-1993 for any questions.
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