It’s that time of year again: flu season. However, what is different this year is that we are already dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. To avoid what experts are calling a “twindemic,” it is important to get your flu shot and take care of yourself. It is even more important this year to continue to take extra precautions to not only protect yourself from the flu, but also SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Here is what you can do to keep your teeth healthy this season.

Brush your teeth twice a day

Being sick can be exhausting, but it is vital that you  make sure to brush and floss. Every day, brush your teeth in the morning and at night. When brushing, make sure to spend at least two minutes on cleaning your teeth. And when flossing, aim for at least once a day for added benefit.

Drink lots of liquid

Staying hydrated is important when you’re sick, because your body needs extra fluid to fight the infection. Dry mouth is a common problem, especially when you can’t breathe through your nose easily. 

Since saliva is a key player in controlling cavity-causing bacteria, dry mouth can increase your chances of cavities and gum disease. Do yourself a favor by loading up on water, soup and juice.

Toss your toothbrush

Once you start feeling better, replace your toothbrush. Your old toothbrush can harbor bacteria and easily reinfect you, so say, “Goodbye!” to that toothbrush as soon as possible.

Gargle with salt water. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt water in a glass of warm water. Gargle and spit until the water is gone. This helps cut down on harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat, reducing the effects of bad breath and plaque.

Choose sugar-free medication

Many cough drops and syrups are packed with sugar to sweeten the dose. Even paired with medication, this sugar can cause tooth decay and harm your gums. Shop smart by looking for medicine that’s sweetened with sugar substitutes like xylitol or sucralose. 

If you can’t find sugar-free alternatives, make sure to brush or rinse afterwards. If your medicine is acidic, wait at least half an hour before brushing to let your enamel harden.

Contact us at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about how your oral health can impact your health during the cold and flu season.