November 13, 2018
Ironically, while people are out-and-about shopping and celebrating the holiday season with different types of festivities, flu season has started as well. You don’t have to sit helplessly in fear of getting ill, though. Read on to learn 5 oral health-related flu season tips that can help you remain well and fight off unwanted germs.
Tip #1 – Correctly Perform Oral Hygiene
Bacteria are some of the prime contributors to getting ill. One way to limit the number of them present is to perform excellent oral hygiene, which should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times a day.
When you brush, be sure to clean all the surfaces of your teeth. Furthermore, per the recommendation of the American Dental Association, you should brush for at least two minutes.
Tip #2 – Stay Hydrated
Drinking a sufficient amount of water is vital to your health for several reasons. Most importantly, when you drink enough water, it helps to strengthen your immune system (your body’s defense mechanism for fighting illnesses).
Furthermore, drinking water contributes to maintaining moisture in your mouth, which is important because bacteria flourish in a dry environment.
Tip #3 – Know When to Toss Your Toothbrush
Normally, you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months. However, if you are ill – even before that time period has elapsed – you should toss your toothbrush. Otherwise, you could risk reinfection.
Tip #4 – Gargle with Salt Water
Another way to keep bacteria under control is to occasionally gargle with a salt water solution. You can dissolve a tablespoon of salt in warm water and then gargle it, which will help to reduce the number of bacteria present in your mouth and throat.
Tip #5 – Use Sugar-Free Medication
The food of choice for bacteria is sugar. Unfortunately, many medications contain a considerable amount, which can be counter-productive to achieving wellness. This problem is especially prevalent among cough syrups.
To prevent unwanted bacteria growth, look for sugar-free forms of medicine. Some alternative sweeteners are xylitol or sucralose. If a sugar-free option is not available, you can brush and rinse after taking the medication.
A major goal during flu season is to prevent illness, so it’s best to take a proactive approach to your oral and overall health. It’s also a good time of the year to contact a local dentist to schedule a preventive care visit. Thus, you’ll have a better chance of dodging an illness, and you’ll be able to enjoy a clean set of teeth.
About the Author
Dr. Joseph Noble is a graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. To stay abreast of the complex changes in dentistry, he maintains affiliation with the Texas Dental Association, the San Antonio District Dental Society and other professional organizations. Dr. Noble helps patients protect themselves during flu season by removing bacteria with preventive dental care at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information through his website.
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