December 1, 2022
Chilly temperatures and shorter days mean cold and flu season is in full swing. While frequent handwashing, masks, and Lysol can help keep germs at bay, your little one is bound to get a case of the sniffles. OTC cold medicines, fluids, and plenty of rest will help them get back on their feet quickly; however, cold and flu season can have consequences for their oral health. Here’s what you need to know to keep your little one comfortable while keeping their smile healthy.
Brushing and Flossing Are a Must
It can be a battle to get your child out of bed to brush and floss if they aren’t feeling well, but their oral hygiene can’t wait until they are feeling better. Skipping brushing and flossing for even a couple of days will cause oral bacteria to get out of control. You can skip the battle by bringing your child’s toothbrush, floss, and a cup of water to their bedside.
Don’t Brush After Vomiting
Stomach bugs can leave a bad taste in your child’s mouth, but don’t let them brush their teeth immediately after vomiting. Brushing will spread stomach acid all over their teeth, which can weaken their enamel. Instead, have them rinse their mouth with water, and wait about 30 minutes before reaching for their toothbrush.
Choose Sugar-Free Medications and Lozenges
Cough medicines, throat lozenges, and other OTC cold remedies can combat runny noses, fevers, and sore throats, but many contain added sugars to make them taste better. Unfortunately, they will coat your child’s teeth with cavity-causing bacteria. It’s better to look for sugar-free options or have them rinse their mouth with water afterward.
Encourage Plenty of Water
It’s important for your little one to stay hydrated, but skip the sports drinks, fruit juices, and sodas. They are loaded with sugar. Instead, encourage plenty of water. If they need a little sweetness, cut up some fresh fruit to place in their glass.
Don’t Forget a New Toothbrush
The American Dental Association recommends changing toothbrushes every 2-3 months unless it’s worn or damaged sooner. However, it’s also a good idea to get your child a new toothbrush after being ill. Although recontamination is unlikely, you don’t want any germs lingering behind. Remember to choose one with soft bristles that fit the size of their mouth. Don’t forget to look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
Don’t let the cold and flu season come back to haunt your child’s smile. You can support a healthy mouth and body and prevent toothaches down the road with a few changes this winter. Don’t forget to schedule their semi-annual cleaning and checkup once they are feeling better.
About Dr. Reema Dhingra
Dr. Dhingra earned her dental degree at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine and her orthodontic certification at the Tufts School of Orthodontics. She is a proud member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists. If it’s time for your child’s semi-annual visit, contact our office today for an appointment.
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