How to Take Care of Your Teeth When You’re Sick

take care of your teeth when sick dr alana macalik arlington

The last thing you may feel like doing when you’re sick in bed is get up to brush your teeth. While skipping a brushing session or two isn’t the end of the world, it’s certainly not helpful to your overall oral health. If you, your partner, or your kids are sick, here are the best rules to follow and enforce so you don’t need an emergency dental visit when you recuperate.

Keep Brushing and Flossing

Tired, achy, stressed – being sick is a mind-and-body problem. Taking care of yourself when you’re sick is the priority – and that includes your teeth and gums. You might not be eating much of anything while you’re laid up, but that doesn’t mean your teeth aren’t getting dirty.

Even if you’re not physically back in the game yet, maybe not even close, brushing can help you feel like at least part of you is clean and healthy. Plus, brushing gets that nasty taste out of your mouth from vomiting or postnasal drip, and washes away the germs that are sitting there festering.

Stay Hydrated but Go Sugar Free

Hydrating is important when sick, and many people turn to sports drinks or beverages that replenish electrolytes. Unfortunately, many of these drinks are super-sugary – and that is bad news for your teeth, especially if you’re not ingesting anything else to balance out the sugar.

Cold and flu medicine can also put you at risk for dry mouth, which increases your likelihood of developing cavities. You want to stay hydrated to avoid developing a dry mouth, but you must choose the right fluids. In most cases, water is your safest choice. Tea can help, but you risk staining your teeth (especially if you’re slacking on the brushing) and you don’t want to add sugar or acidic lemon.

Swish and Spit

If you are vomiting, you probably fall into one of two categories – you could care less about your teeth or you want to brush your teeth immediately. The best bet is to swish water around in your mouth and spit it out, then wait about 30 minutes to brush.

When you vomit, stomach acids are coating your teeth and that is bad news. But brushing too soon just gets that acid rubbed all over tooth enamel. So make sure you brush, just don’t do it right away after you hurl.

Feel Better Soon

Brushing is part of your normal routine. While being sick makes you feel completely out of it, brushing can actually help you keep track of the days and perk you up, if only temporarily. Even if you’re sleeping in the same clothes and haven’t showered for days, a clean mouth at the very least will make you feel fresh, and you are taking care of your oral health at the same time.

If you are worried about your oral health, or it’s time to schedule a cleaning and exam, contact us to schedule your appointment with Dr. Alana Macalik. In the meantime, buy a fresh toothbrush after you’ve been sick to make yourself feel better!