Being sick is hard. Your body aches, your brain is foggy, and you just don’t feel good. Like most you probably get through your day with cold medicine, fever-reducing medicine, teas, and rest.

Personally, I know that when I am sick I don’t have the energy put myself “together”. I don’t want to move. So, dental hygiene is my last thought. Here is my list of how to make sure you keep your teeth healthy when you aren’t.

  1. Replace your tooth brush when the first symptoms appear. According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on surfaces for 72 hours. While chances are you will be sick longer than 72 hours, it is good practice to replace your toothbrush. Especially if you have had your toothbrush for 3-4 months.
  2. Rinse our your mouth after vomiting. As gross as it is vomiting is a symptom of the stomach flu and other illnesses. Your first instinct might be to brush your teeth after you vomit. But, please don’t. When you vomit stomach acid comes in contact with your teeth. Brushing your teeth will spread the stomach acid all over coating your teeth. I recommend that you simply swish and spit with water. It will rinse out stomach acid.
  3. Stay hydrated to evade dry mouth. When you are sick you need to stay hydrated for many reasons. Mine reason is to prevent dry mouth. Aside from being uncomfortable, it can also put you at greater risk for cavities. Antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers can also give you dry mouth. So keep drinking that water and stay hydrated.
  4. Use sugar-free cough drops. Cough drops can contain as much sugar as candy, and can be just as harmful. The longer you suck on sugary drops, candy or cough, the more cavity-causing bacteria has to fester. Read through the label on the drops before you buy.
  5. Use mouthwash multiple times a day. While you are sick you might not be able to brush your teeth as consistently as you would if you were not sick, but swishing with mouthwash a couple of times a day will help to combat germs and bacteria that is present. It will also help to recover by keeping germs out of your mouth.