Should You Care For Your Teeth Differently When You're Sick?

You may have noticed that whenever you simply rinse your mouth and face with water while sick, you suddenly feel refreshed. That's because just as bathing and handwashing have a dramatic effect on your wellbeing, similarly, oral hygiene can go a long way when you feel under the weather.

According to WebMD, taking care of your oral health is necessary for a beautiful smile and maintaining teeth and gums. However, it may also improve your memory, and it is crucial for reducing bad breath as well. Proper teeth cleaning can potentially extend the life of your teeth, diminishing the risk of losing them as you age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a whopping 47% of Americans have some kind of dental disease after the age of 30, whereas the figure rises to a scary 70% in adults who are more than 60 years old. Suffice to say, maintaining your oral health is vital to get rid of bacterial growth and tartar build-up, which often leads to cavities and painful periodontal diseases.

How to clean your teeth when you're sick

Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, even when you're sick. According to Healthline, antiseptic mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine are highly potent against bacterial growth inside the mouth. Flossing or brushing is important when you wake up and before you go to bed, and after taking medicine or drinking something sweet. However, dentists advise taking sugar-free syrups so they don't cause additional harm to your teeth. It is also critical to have a separate toothbrush when you're sick because the germs can live on a wet surface for weeks (via WebMD). Occasionally deep cleansing with a mouthwash can help get rid of stuck material. If you see soft bristles, throw the toothbrush away and get a new one.

Additionally, drink lots of water to avoid dry mouth — a condition that occurs frequently when you're sick and taking anti-allergy meds. A dry mouth is not only deeply discomforting for those with a sore throat, but also the perfect environment for tooth decay (via the Cleveland Clinic).