Whether it’s a stomach bug or flu, your oral health can take a beating when you aren’t well. Even common cold can have a slightly deleterious effect on your teeth than you may think of, particularly when the colder months roll in. Elderly and senior individuals may be in for a higher risk or complication if their teeth are not properly taken care of during illness.
There are several ways by which lack of proper dental hygiene may affect the body in general. Let’s discuss the various symptoms, how they affect the body and how the body responds to them:
Vomiting can cause enamel decay. Based on the type of infection, you may find it hard to keep your food down. Vomiting is unwelcome, but, at times, a respite for the body to discharge harmful bacteria or substances.
However, the fluids in your stomach are highly acidic. Basically, gastric acids when taken in can be quite damaging to your teeth’s enamel. The enamel, as you may know, is the protective layer of the teeth; once it is worn out, your teeth may be subject to decay.
Don’t jump in to brush straightaway. This is because the acid deposited on your teeth can increase the damage done with brushing, as acid is rubbed onto the teeth. Instead, before brushing, use baking soda and an alkaline solution of water and rinse your mouth thoroughly this will neutralize and wash off the acid.
Toothbrushes are carriers of infections as they accumulate saliva, bacteria and blood. Therefore, if you are down and ill, it is important to keep your toothbrush apart from the rest in your household as it will reduce the risk of contaminating other toothbrushes. Never share your toothbrush with anybody.
Even if you vomit due to illness, ensure you continue with regular brushing and flossing, and follow it up periodic cleaning of the teeth and gums. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush with a new, cleaner one once you have recovered.
Staying hydrated is imperative to maintaining both dental as well as general health. This can be particularly important when you are ill as your body may fall short of fluids while fighting down an infection. The resultant case is dry mouth or higher risk of dehydration.
Lack of saliva in the mouth can lead to greater risk of gingivitis and dental decay. Saliva is the medium that washes away food substances and acids and maintain optimal levels of bacteria in the mouth. Dry mouth can also occur due to cold and flu medications like decongestants and antihistamines.
You need to take in a lot of water, and if required, grab sugar-free lozenges to stimulate more saliva in the mouth. Ensure you don’t have lozenges and drinks that are sugar-rich as they go on to enable dental carriers.