When you’re feeling under the weather, it can be difficult to feel like doing much more than snuggling in bed. Everyday tasks like brushing your teeth just seem to take twice the effort and twice as long as usual. The last thing you want to worry about is taking cough syrup and its effect on your oral health when you’re already feeling achy, feverish and stuffy. Fortunately, there are some simple and easy things you can do that can make a big difference when you’re sick.

Choose Sugar-Free

When choosing over the counter remedies, it’s important to choose products without ingredients that can harm your oral health. Sugary cough drops and cough syrup and your teeth are a bad combination because the sugary residue can linger and interact with the saliva in your mouth to cause tooth decay. If possible, make sure to choose sugar-free options that will be easier on your teeth, especially if you’re not feeling well enough to complete your normal oral hygiene routine.

If a Product Contains Sugar

Perhaps you’re facing a medicine cabinet full of sugar-containing cough syrup and your teeth are important to you, but you want relief! Sometimes it’s not always possible to avoid sugar in products. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, don’t fret too much! Even with less than the best options, you can still limit the negative effects and get much needed relief from your symptoms. After you take the medication or use a cough drop that contains sugar, just make sure to brush your teeth and rinse well to wash away any residue.

Some Other Tips for When You’re Sick

Dental hygiene when you’re sick goes well beyond cough syrup and your teeth. Being sick, especially if you’re congested, can cause you to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose which can lead to dry mouth. Decongestants and other medications can also reduce the body’s production of saliva which can further exacerbate the problem. Dry mouth might not seem like a big deal, but saliva is your body’s natural defense system against cavity-causing bacteria, so it’s crucial to your dental health. Drinking lots of extra fluids can help, just make sure to choose liquids that don’t contain sugar and won’t stain your teeth. Water, broth, herbal tea without sugar, and electrolyte-containing drinks are all great options.

It can also be helpful to gargle with salt water if you’re experiencing a cough or sore throat. Salt water has natural cleansing and healing properties that can help reduce bacteria and soothe tenderness in the throat or dry mouth. To create a salt water rinse, mix 1 tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth repeatedly until you’ve used up all of the solution, being careful not to swallow it.

Oral Hygiene and Your Immune System

Dental health is the last thing on most people’s minds when they are sick, just getting through each day requires so much extra effort! But good oral hygiene can help keep your immune system strong and focused on fighting off viruses and infection that come from outside your body. With just a few simple and easy choices, you can also help protect your teeth from cavities during sickness.

Call our Waco, Harker Heights or Burleson dental office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.