March 14, 2020
When you’re sick, the last thing you often think about is your oral health. Getting out of bed can be hard enough. Attempting to brush your teeth, floss, and rinse, especially when dealing with a cough, may leave you thinking it’s not worth the time or effort. Unfortunately, this mindset can lead to a serious decline in the health of your teeth and gums, resulting in unnecessary and costly dental treatments to fix a mouth full of cavities or gums plagued by infection. Since a cough is often one of the most common signs of COVID-19, the common cold, and the flu, the remedies used to treat it remain the same. To prevent your oral health from moving in a downward spiral, a local dentist shares what you can do to keep your smile decay and disease-free even while you’re sick.
COVID-19 and Your Oral Health
One of the common symptoms of COVID-19 is a cough. Combined with fever and shortness of breath, individuals are strongly encouraged to practice self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days. During this time, your cough can keep you awake at night and even lead to a sore throat depending on its harshness.
Whether caused by COVID-19, the common cold or flu, a cough can lead you to resort to various medications for relief. While they may prove beneficial at alleviating the severity of your cough, they can, in turn, wreak havoc on your teeth and gums.
Ways to Protect Your Smile While Treating a Cough
Before you head to the drug store, consider the following:
- When shopping for cough medicine, look for syrups that contain a natural sweetener or are sugar-free instead of those that are made from pure sugar, as it is fuel for bad bacteria. When sugar is left on your teeth and gums, the bacteria will make acids that attack your tooth enamel and create holes (i.e. cavities).
- If possible, look for a cough remedy in pill form instead of syrup. This will minimize the amount of contact between your teeth and the medication, preventing any possible harm to occur to your mouth.
- Try not to purchase that bag of cough drops, as they, too, contain a lot of sugar. If you must buy them, find some that contain natural honey or sweetener instead of sugar. Better yet, opt for sugar-free cough drops!
Another helpful tip to remember is to drink plenty of water to keep your mouth from getting dry. Coughing all the time can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, and this can result in bad breath from bacteria accumulating on your tongue. Drinking lots of water will help flush out the harmful toxins and keep your mouth moist, reducing your risk for bad breath as well as cavities and gum disease.
If you want additional tips to keep your oral health on track while sick, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local dentist. They are available to answer questions and help your smile stay healthy no matter what type of illness you are experiencing.
About the Author
Dr. Jayme Glamm earned her DDS degree from The Ohio State University School of Dentistry in 2007. After completing a general practice residency at the University of Colorado, she later joined Pearl Dentistry and has been helping patients in Denver and the surrounding communities maintain healthy, beautiful smiles. She and her team strive to offer tips, techniques, and advanced treatments to repair, restore, and maintain teeth and gums. Worried your oral health will decline as a result of illness during this time? Contact us at (720) 440-9296 to find out what steps you can take to prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease from developing.
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