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A Dentist Shares How Cold and Flu Remedies Can Impact Your Teeth

November 10, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmarchese @ 9:04 pm

woman sick blowing her noseAccording to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the months of October through February are considered to be flu season. For people who are able to avoid the flu, there is also the threat of developing the cold virus and all the symptoms that come along with it. Thankfully, either ailment can usually be effectively treated. While the remedies can eventually restore one’s health to normal, they can have an adverse effect on the teeth. As you read on, your family dentist in Lisle explains what these potential challenges are and how you can protect yourself.

The Challenges Decongestants Can Pose

One of the most common ways of handling a runny nose is to take a decongestant, it’s primary purpose being to slow down the flow of nasal drainage. Unfortunately, the medication can cause reduced saliva production. The problem here is that the less saliva that is produced, the more welcoming the mouth becomes to oral bacteria growing, which can lead to tooth and gum decay.

One way to combat the negative effects while using these types of products is to drink extra water to keep your mouth lubricated.

Potential Risks of Using Cough Drops

Dealing with the flu or a cold can sometimes cause throat soreness. A common way to respond is to insert a cough drop, which is known for slowly dissolving in the mouth. While cough drops can sometimes provide medicinal qualities, the flavor provided typically comes from sugar.

That means that as the tablet dissolves, highly-concentrated sugar is allowed to bathe your teeth and gums. This can lead to cavity development and gum health problems.

One potential remedy is to seek a product that is sugar-free. While a compromise may have to be made in the flavor department, this is a more effective way of getting the relief you need without having to sacrifice your oral health.

The Effect of Taking Cough Syrup

The main reason medicinal syrup is used is to suppress a nagging cough. Like cough drops, it will normally be high in sugar to make it more pleasing to the taste. The sticky liquid can then cling to the teeth and gums to leave its potentially harmful residuals.

One way to get around this is to use pills or gel-caps. If this isn’t possible, you can try taking your medication before eating a meal, as the extra saliva produced will help to remove some of the leftovers.

What Drinking Hot Tea Can Do to Teeth

A highly popular beverage to consume when dealing with flu or cold symptoms is hot tea. Not only is the liquid soothing to a sore throat, but it can sometimes ease an upset stomach, stave off a headache and help to induce a restful night of sleep.

The possible issue with drinking hot tea is that it can cause tooth erosion. Then, if sugar or honey is added, the negative effects can be compounded.

A way to lessen the chances of any oral health issues is to drink with a straw. You can also use less sweetener or one that is sugar-free.

Additionally, it’s important to practice consistent oral hygiene at this time, which should include brushing and flossing to keep the teeth and gums as clean as possible. Also, don’t forget to utilize a new toothbrush to prevent a re-infection.

By following these guidelines and paying your dentist in Lisle a visit for a checkup, you can recover from an illness without placing your oral health in jeopardy!

About the Author

Dr. Frank Marchese is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. He helps patients maintain strong and healthy teeth and gums by providing top-notch dentistry at Arbor Dental Care, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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