The Cold, The Flu and Your Oral Health
We all know that between the months of December and March, cold and flu season is rampant. Precautions like hand washing and eating balanced meals, will make a huge difference in your overall health this winter, however there are a few other ways to protect yourself during this time of year simply through oral hygiene.
First, whatever you do, don’t share toothbrushes! Always make sure you have your own dedicated toothbrush. While the use of a significant other’s toothbrush every once in a while seems as though it won’t do much harm, try not to. Because bacteria is microscopic, what might appear to be a perfectly normal looking toothbrush might be laden with bacteria. You just never know!
Second, keep toothbrushes separate. If toothbrushes are being stored in the same holder, make sure the bristles are kept facing away from each other so not to cross-contaminate.
Third, replace old toothbrushes on a regular basis. Whether or not you have the flu, you should get in the habit of doing this every three months. For one, a toothbrush’s bristles will wear out and become less effective over time. And also because bacteria has the tendency to build up and live between the bristles.
If you do catch the cold or flu this year, we highly recommend getting rid of your old toothbrush once everything has passed and replace it with a new one to avoid the spread of any more germs.
Fourth, knowing that winter weather is often dry and cool, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and combat oral health symptoms like dry mouth. Our immune systems are much weaker during this time of year. Keeping your mouth lubricated and your salivary glands producing saliva provides a line of defense between your mouth and any unwanted bacteria.
Fifth, if you feel a tickle in the back of your throat and feel like you need something to coat it, make sure to choose sugar-free cough drops to lessen the chance for cavity-causing bacteria to make a lasting impression on your smile.
With these (seemingly) easy tips to keep in mind when it comes to your oral health, hopefully you can avoid cold and flu season this year all together!