Every year, there comes the time when the flu bug starts getting really bad and it seems like everywhere we turn, someone is getting sick. With people still forgoing the flu shot and failing to follow basic handwashing protocols, the flu can often spread like wildfire, especially among the very young and the very old. If you are unlucky enough to get hit with the flu, what does it mean for your health- particularly for your oral health?
Changing Out Your Tooth Brush Regularly
One of the key tools for good dental care is having the right toothbrush. As a general rule, you want a soft toothbrush that has bristles designed to clean the cracks and crevices of your teeth. Another rule most dentists recommend is to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis once the bristles start getting frayed and worn looking. This is because once this begins to happen, the bristles will not get into all the little nooks and crannies as easily. Our office recommends swapping them out around the three-month mark.
How the Flu Can Spread
The flu is a master of mutation and can spread quite quickly, changing many times in order to avoid virus protections like shots and natural immunities. The common way a flu bug will spread is through contact with body fluids. This includes saliva from kissing but also from coughing as well, this also includes mucus from runny noses and watery eyes.
You don’t have to be in direct contact with someone while they are coughing or sneezing either to be exposed. The flu virus can linger for hours on surfaces that someone has touched after coving a cough or wiping their nose. Common flu harboring surfaces include phones, computers, doorknobs, counters, computer mouse, money, shopping carts, ATMs, steering wheels, cups, and toothbrushes.
Oral Health When You Are Sick
Paying attention to your dental care habits is important every day, but it is especially critical when you are sick. When we don’t feel good, we tend to let self-care slip a bit. We don’t brush our hair or take a shower as often as we normally might. We stay in bed or sleep on the couch more than we typically do. And, we tend to skip oral care like brushing and using mouthwash. It makes sense why we do it, but this is one of the worst things we can do for our oral care.
When we are sick, the bacteria in our mouths kick into overdrive, so it is more important than ever to stay on top of dental care. Many dentists actually recommend brushing and using mouth wash more often than you normally would while you are fighting the flu or some other major illness. This helps kill germs so you don’t spread the flu as easily and it can also help shorten the duration of your own illness by preventing re-infection from occurring.
Why You Should Throw Out Germy Toothbrushes
The best way to stay on top of your oral health when you are sick with the flu would be to prepare ahead of time. It is always a good idea to discard a toothbrush after you have had the flu since it can harbor so many germs.
Many people prepare for flu season and grab an extra toothbrush that they keep on hand. When they start to feel sick and notice those flu symptoms creeping up, they switch to the stand by toothbrush and use that one alone while they are sick. This way, they are throwing out a cheaper toothbrush after their illness rather than throwing out a more expensive specialty brush that they use on a day to day basis.
If you don’t have a backup toothbrush, you will need to throw out whatever one you end up using. Otherwise, you run the very real risk of just getting yourself sick all over again!
Improving Oral and Overall Health At Artistic Touch Dentistry
If you have been searching for a Melbourne Florida dentist or you need a little extra help with your oral care during an illness, we are here for you! Contact us today to schedule your consultation appointment!