Keeping Your Mouth Healthy When You’re Sick

These simple tips can help keep your mouth healthy even when you’re not!

Concentrating on your dental health is probably not your top priority when you’re sick, but it is important to keep your teeth healthy even when you’re not feeling well. Besides brushing and flossing, what else should you do?

Buy sugar-free cough drops
As we know, sugar is harmful to our teeth. When you buy cough drops, be sure they are sugar-free. Since cough drops stay in your mouth for an extended amount of time, the sugar can mix with bacteria in your mouth, producing acid that will harm your teeth.

Possible dry mouth
A side-effect of many medications is dry mouth. Dry mouth is an issue that can lead to dental health issues such as decay and gum disease. If your medication is causing you dry mouth, be sure to drink plenty of water.

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Replacing your toothbrush
Germs from the flu can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours. If you want to be extra safe, it may be a good idea to use a new toothbrush once you feel better.

It can be difficult to focus on dental health when you’re not feeling well, but it is important to continue brushing and flossing every day. If you are due for a cleaning or have any questions about your dental health, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aerni.

Why Do People Seem to Get More Cavities As They Get Old?

Saliva is highly important for maintaining the acid/base balance in your mouth. Saliva is produced by salivary glands which we find in our cheeks and under the tongue. These glands create two types of saliva, serous saliva, and mucoid saliva.

Serous saliva is the wet and watery form and mucoid saliva is more thick and sticky. Mucoid saliva provides proteins that are key in the beginning stages of digesting our food. Serous saliva mostly creates chemicals to buffer your mouth.

As we get older, serous saliva production slowly decreases. When we do not have enough serous saliva, we experience xerostomia, also called dry mouth. Our mouths become more acidic as a result of dry mouth, and acidity is what causes tooth decay.

Xerostomia is also a result of things such as medication and chemotherapy. Because chemotherapy slows the multiplication of rapidly reproducing cells, the cells in the salivary gland are affected.

The best thing you can do for your mouth is to get regular dental exams and maintain proper at-home care, including brushing and flossing. The mouth goes through changes as we age, and your dentist can offer some advice to fight the effects of dry mouth which may include frequent fluoride treatments and fluoride toothpaste. 

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Are you concerned about cavities?

If you would like to learn more about cavity prevention and care for dry mouth, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aerni to discuss what can be done to keep your mouth and teeth healthy.