The Common Cold and your Oral Health

Some oral health care tips for Winter.

As Winter starts to take its toll, with the usual increase in the number of cold and flu viruses that occur at this time of the year; we thought we would take the opportunity to offer some dental advice to our Burton on Trent dental patients who are unfortunate enough to suffer these.

Whilst, in a healthy person, the cold virus will usually go within a week or so, those with heavier colds especially, are likely to feel under the weather and unable, or unwilling, to carry out their usual routines.

Tiredness

As the body spends more of its resources than usual, in fighting off the cold and flu virus, it is likely that we will feel tired, drained and not ourselves. This can result in our usual good dietary habits slipping, and whilst all advice says eat lots of vitamin packed foods; very often we reach for comforting foods that are full of sugar instead.

Whilst, for a limited time, this increase in sugary foods would not necessarily harm our teeth; when we are feeling run down, our oral health care may also slip.

The combination of these two factors increases the risk, not only of tooth decay, but also of gum disease. Where we fall ill for a longer period of time, long term damage caused through associated neglect of our oral health can be significant.

So however bad you feel; even if for only five minutes or so a day, you should make sure that you make the effort to brush and floss your teeth effectively. This small amount of effort will certainly pay a major role in maintaining your oral health.

Warm drinks

Many of the things that we eat, drink or take during our colds are designed to relieve the symptoms of a cold rather than attack the cold itself.

Drinking warm drinks is a positive thing to do as not only is it comforting but also plays a role in ensuring that we stay hydrated (another factor in gum disease prevention). Too often though, these drinks contain high levels of sugar and, where possible, we would recommend that you opt for sugar free drinks if you can.

In fact, sugars can be hidden away in many cold and flu remedies, especially those that come in the form of syrups. Without the sugar, many of these would be very bitter indeed. Unfortunately, because of the high level of sugar involved, these syrups also have a tendency to stick to the teeth and gums. Where possible, it is best to take these cold remedies a little before you brush and floss your teeth rather than leaving long periods where the sugar is stuck to your teeth.

If you have a cold for a few days and follow the advice above, the likelihood is that no damage will have been caused to your teeth.

If you have had a bad case of the flu or other illness which has lasted for a long time, it may be advisable to contact Mike Allen’s Dental Practice in Burton, once your illness has cleared, and allow us to perform a check on your teeth to rectify any problems that may have arisen during your illness.