We’re currently at the peak of cold and flu season! These chilly days can’t go by any faster and everyone is excited to inch closer to the warmer weather. While we do everything possible to avoid these illnesses, sometimes they are inevitable. When illness strikes us, there are some things that your Blountville and Bristol dentists want you to keep in mind to protect your mouth from damage.
Many of the medicines designed to help you relieve symptoms of the cold come with some secret dangers you might not have ever thought of. Whether it is a cough drop or cough syrups, those ingredients making you feel better could be bringing destruction to your teeth.
· Sugar – Medicines tend to contain sugars that mask unpleasant tastes. This is dangerous to your tooth enamel because of the bacteria that feed on sugar. The acid that is left over wears your enamel away leading to tooth decay.
· Alcohol – Many cough medicines contain alcohol as an ingredient. Overall, alcohol is known to reduce the saliva production in your mouth. Saliva is a necessary by-product used to rinse away the sugars found in the mouth. With a dry mouth, you are susceptible to decaying teeth and inflamed gums.
Certainly, we aren’t suggesting that you avoid taking the medicines you need during a cold. We want you to be comfortable and safe at the same time. That’s why we have a list of ways to protect your teeth during a cold.
· If the medication is available in a pill format instead of liquid, take that instead. This eliminates the ingredients touching your teeth.
· Avoid taking cough syrup before bed. Taking sugary medicines after you’ve brushed your teeth means that they sit on the teeth all night long thereby increasing your risk of decay.
· If you must take liquid medicine; take it with food. The production of saliva increases while we eat. By taking the medication when you are producing saliva, you wash away harmful ingredients from your teeth. It is also wise to drink plenty of water.
If you have further questions about how to care for your teeth during a cold or flu, be sure to speak with your Blountville or Bristol dentists. There’s no reason to suffer through the nagging symptoms, but let’s take care of it in a way that reduces the risk to our teeth. Call the closest office to you; our Blountville number is (423) 217-1338 and our Bristol number is (276) 466-2028.