Treating That Cold Or Flu Can Be Hard On Your Teeth

Posted on in Food & Health

young female having a coldAutumn is here, and so is the beginning of the cold and flu season. While no one wants to be sick, our efforts to treat these illnesses can be hard on our teeth without us even realizing it.

Acidic Medicines

Many of the things we drink when we’re sick are acidic. Drinking plain old water doesn’t sound at all appealing. We often turn to drinking orange juice when we have a cold, which is very acidic. Other things, such as cough syrup or effervescent  remedies, are sugary or acidic, too. The syrups are thick and coat the teeth. Acid and sugar destroy the enamel on our teeth.

The best solution? Try not to sip slowly; it’s better to drink such beverages all at once, and then rinse the mouth with water or brush afterwards.

Sugary Cough Drops

If your cough drop isn’t sugar free, it’s like eating hard candy. Hard candy in and of itself can damage your teeth if you bite it by chipping your teeth. The sugar, however, poses its own threat. A cough drop that sits in the mouth coats teeth with a layer of damaging sugar; prolonged exposure is destructive to the enamel.

If we need a cough drop, be sure to choose one that is sugar-free. We don’t want to find ourselves with a sugary cough drop tucked between our teeth and cheek for any length of time. Avoid cough syrups if possible, particularly those with sugar. The syrup coats the teeth with a layer of sugar and acid, as we mentioned above.

Dry Mouth

Our mouth tends to be drier when we are sick, often because we are stuffed up and breathing through our mouth. Dry mouth is hard on the teeth and gums. It might contribute to our gums being sore or tender, whether through the lack of moisture in our mouth or the fact that our body is focused on fighting the illness and not dealing with the bacteria in our mouth. Plus, when our sinuses are the issue, our upper back teeth can feel sensitive due to the location of our sinuses. All of this means we don’t always feel like brushing our teeth when we’re sick.

The solution? You have to continue to brush your teeth, and drink plenty of water to flush the mouth and keep it from becoming dry. And, when you’re better, you probably don’t think about replacing the toothbrush you used when you were sick but it’s a good idea to do so. Regularly replacing your toothbrush, especially after you’ve been sick, is a wise decision.