Flu season is no joke when you have kids around the house. It’s so easy for children to pick up colds, coughs, or worse from daycare or school and bring it home to share with the whole family. While we wish we could find a magic cure for seasonal illnesses, Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry can help you prioritize your oral health and that of your children when you’re sick.
Keep Teeth Clean
We know that it can be tough when you or the kids are sick and you’re just trying to get through the day, but don’t discount how important clean teeth are. Brushing can help flush the mouth of bad bacteria and bring hydration and refreshment for kiddos and adults. If you find that your children are too sick to come and brush in the bathroom for themselves, a quick bedside brush with a cup of water for rinsing and spitting will be way better than nothing at all.
For children or adults with braces or other orthodontic devices, it is extremely important to maintain a basic level of dental health while you are sick. Your teeth are in a susceptible state where plaque can grow more easily in nooks and crannies, so always brush, morning and evening. The effort will be well worth it.
For those who have finished orthodontic treatment and regularly wear a retainer to maintain your straight teeth alignment, you will need to clean your retainer as well! Dr. B says that you should scrub them every day, and cleaning them while you’re sick will help keep you from transferring sickness-causing bacteria in and out of your mouth again and again. Give them a good scrub with an antibacterial cleanser like hand soap or alcohol-free mouthwash and a toothbrush, and you should be set!
Hydration is important for all of us; adults, children, and brace-wearers alike. Hydration is essential to help you recover from your sickness and to keep your teeth healthy. A dry mouth is a recipe for bad bacteria to thrive and cause tooth decay. This is because saliva contains minerals that support your enamel and help keep bacteria at bay. When the saliva is reduced due to mouth breathing, nasal congestion, or dehydration, it can cause some serious problems.
To prevent a dry mouth, start by sipping on water regularly throughout the day. This can help replenish saliva and provide your body with the hydration that it needs to help you get well. If you notice that you or your kid’s dry mouth is persistent, it’s probably a good idea to add a sports beverage or Pedialyte to the rotation. The electrolytes in these drinks can help you retain water and stave off dehydration.
Don’t Eat Sugar
We know it can sometimes be hard to get your kiddo to eat regularly when they aren’t feeling well. That means you might resort to food options you wouldn’t usually go for. We totally sympathize, and agree–some food is better than no food! But at the very least, do your best to avoid sugary foods and drinks while your child recovers. Sugar is known to repress the immune system, making recovery slower, and it also is plaque’s favorite snack, making it more likely for your child to encounter tooth decay and other problems.
What’s true for kids is true for you, too. If you have braces or orthodontia of some sort, it’s really important that you avoid sugar to prevent tooth decay. Do your body a favor instead and try to eat more simple carbs that are easy to digest like crackers or toast. Soup is always a great option because of how hydrating and nourishing it is.
A quick toothbrush switcheroo as soon as your child starts feeling better is a good idea. Dr. B and Dr. Sarah both agree that there’s no reason to risk reintroducing bacteria into the mouth once your family is on the road to recovery. Toothbrush bristles can harbor bacteria for a long time, and you might accidentally get yourself or your child sick again just from brushing.
Better be safe than sorry and pick up a few new toothbrushes and ditch the old ones.
Stay at Home
First of all, know that all of us at Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry will miss you! If you need to reschedule an appointment because you or your child is ill, we totally understand and will look forward to seeing you at your next appointment. Take your time, rest, and get well. Thankfully sickness doesn’t usually last long and we hope everyone will be back on their feet soon.
If you feel that your child or you have a dental or orthodontic emergency, please give our office a call ASAP so that we can help determine whether it is worth it for you to attempt to visit us to solve a problem, or if you will be okay at home for a few more days before making a new appointment.
Call Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry If You Need Support!
As always, we are here to support you through thick and thin! We love being such a big part of many families’ lives, and hope that these tips will help you make it through this flu and sick season with your sanity and dental health intact! It’s not much longer till spring, but till then, we’ll look forward to hearing from you or seeing you in our Sycamore office for a visit!