Ugh! I’m Sick! What Should I Do To Protect My Teeth?

Discoloured teeth

The last thing you think about when you’re sick is caring for your teeth. You’re probably sleeping, resting and  just trying to get through the day until you feel better.

You could be sick due to pregnancy, cancer treatment (such as chemotherapy), cold/ flu or lots of other reasons.

Vomiting can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums due to the stomach acids coating your teeth.

Hormonal changes in pregnancy can also increase your susceptibility to gum disease.

Here are a few tips to help protect your teeth during illness:

  • Try and keep your dental routine as normal as possible – brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and floss once a day.
  • If you’re nauseous and vomiting, rinse with water or chew some sugar free gum. Avoid brushing straight away as the acids soften the teeth so they brush away easier. Wait about an hour and then brush.
  • Having problems with gagging while brushing? Try to breathe through your nose with slow deep breaths, put salt on the tip of your tongue and count back in your head from 100 to distract yourself.
  • If you are really struggling with illness, mix a solution of bicarb soda and salt in a ratio of 50/50 (1 teaspoon of each) in 500mLs of water and rinse throughout the day. This helps to cleanse and neutralize the acids in the mouth although this is never as good as brushing and flossing.
  • If you’ve been vomiting for an extended period of time, try using Tooth Mousse or Clinpro tooth crème. These help to harden tooth enamel and neutralize acids to protect teeth from decay and erosion. Also high fluoride toothpaste such as Neutrafluor 5000 Plus, which is 5 times as strong as normal toothpaste, may be helpful as well. Spitting but not rinsing out toothpaste after brushing, increases the benefits of toothpaste. These products are available from most dental clinics.
  • Dry mouth – lots of medications and being unwell can cause a dry mouth; so drinking lots of water while you’re sick is a good idea. If you’re suffering a dry mouth due to the medications you’re taking or illness – rinse with a mixture of ¼ unsweetened coconut water, ¼ aloe vera juice, and ½ mineral water throughout the day. This will help to keep your mouth hydrated and lubricated.
  • If you have a sore throat or cough, use a sugar free cough drop such as Bosisto’s sugar free eucalyptus drops or Strepsils sugar free. Just don’t overdo them, as they can upset your stomach if you have too many.
  • If being sick is part of an ongoing problem, it makes you more susceptible to dental problems; therefore more frequent dental visits are a good idea to try and minimize the damage.

If you want to keep your teeth healthy during bouts of illness or pregnancy why not book an appointment or contact us for more info.

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