Taking Care of Your Mouth During Flu Season

Taking Care of Your Mouth During Flu Season
It’s the dreaded time of year when you have to scrub doorknobs and light switches. You might
diffuse oils in your office and avoid sneezy guests. It’s flu season, and there’s a number of
things you can do to avoid catching it. Maintaining your overall health through the year boosts
your immune system so that it’s more difficult to catch the flu and other bugs. This means
maintaining your oral hygiene as well.
Maintain Your Health Year-Round
Brush and floss daily for optimum tooth and gum health.
Drink water throughout the day so that your body stays hydrated and your mouth is rinsed of
food and acids.
Visit the dentist for routine checkups so that your teeth can be cleaned and your dentist can
detect upcoming issues with your oral health.
Eat a balanced diet so that your body has all the nutrients it needs for healthy bones, blood,
teeth, and gums. A healthy diet also helps you fight infection and boosts your immune system.
Exercise regularly to move bacteria out of your lungs and airways, raise antibodies and white
blood cells, stop the growth of bacteria, and reduce stress 1 .
Maintain Your Oral Health When You Have the Flu
Sometimes our best laid plans and defenses falter. If you have taken care of your body,
scrubbed the doorknobs, used hand sanitizer, and even taken the flu shot, there is still a chance
you can contract the flu this season. When you do, it’s important to maintain your routine of oral
hygiene and overall health.
Brush and floss daily, even when you may not feel up to it. Illness can change the acid
content in your mouth. It can cause you to drink less, and can raise your blood glucose, all
contributing to the perfect place for bacteria growth.
Drink water periodically, and eat as normally as possible. Staying hydrated is not only good
for your body, but it will help rinse and protect your mouth from bacteria and acid. Maintaining a
healthy diet through an illness will also boost immunity.
Gargle salt water to fight a sore throat, clean the mouth, and speed your recovery. Dissolve a
teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water (not hot!), and gargle and spit until the cup of water is
gone. This can be repeated throughout your sickness.
Change your toothbrush so that you don’t brush with an infected toothbrush. You should
replace your toothbrush every 3 months, and now is the time. While you are sick, continue to
brush daily. When you are well again, throw that old toothbrush out.

When you get the flu, you should stay home and take care of yourself. Visiting your dentist may
infect others and it could be uncomfortable for you while you are ill. You should reschedule your
dental appointment if you have the flu or other illness because routine care can wait a few days,
and because procedures cannot be completed if you suffer from fever or illness. Your dentist
will put your overall health and safety first, so call ahead, and take care of yourself.

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