CARING FOR YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU’RE SICK—PART II
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth
When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting
One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but it’s actually better to wait. When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them. If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.
Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.
Choose the Right Fluids
When it comes to your mouth and your body, water is always best. Sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation unless they are sugar-free versions.
You might also want something to warm you up. When you have a cold or the flu, you may want something comforting to get through it, like tea. Try not to add sugar or lemon if you can avoid it. Sugar can help to fuel cavity-causing bacteria, and lemon is acidic.
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