Caring For Your Oral Health When You’re Under The Weather
Feeling a little unwell? We can help with these handy tips on maintaining your oral health through tricky times.
During winter there can be all kinds of colds and coughs going around that can make you feel really unwell. We also have the Covid-19 pandemic; another big risk this particular winter when it comes to feeling ill.
Pregnancy, mental health issues, common tummy bugs and chronic illness are other reasons that you might feel under the weather.
Being ill is enough to cope with as it is, without then having to care for your oral health. However, neglecting your oral health even for a short time can lead to even more ill-health and feeling rubbish, so it makes sense to keep your oral care going as much as possible, even if you feel really unwell.
To help you keep your oral health in good shape whatever your cause for feeling under the weather, please read on:
During pregnancy you may get pregnancy gingivitis, which will show itself as swollen, bleeding gums. Hormonal changes can cause this to happen, and cannot be avoided. Your NW8 dentist and hygienist can help you with this condition. We may suggest that you switch up your oral hygiene regime to help. If you suffer from vomiting during pregnancy, it is important to keep up your fluid intake and drink water after being sick. Make sure you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, so you’re not spreading acidic residues around the mouth. If your toothpaste is causing you to feel nauseous, try and use an unflavoured version made to tackle these common issues.
When it comes to cravings, it is important to be careful with cravings for food like lemons, sweets or anything highly acidic or sugary. Please speak to us about these cravings if you have them so that we can monitor your oral health, and offer some suggestions to help.
With Covid-19 the symptoms are different for everybody, so there is no specific advice when it comes to oral health. We definitely advise you do not do any of the online challenges for testing food because you can’t taste. This may lead to oral burns and other problems you will want to avoid. It can also lead to tummy troubles and vomiting, only adding to your issues further.
Otherwise, it is important to drink lots of fluid, and if you lose your appetite because you can’t smell or taste, continue to drink water as much as possible to avoid dry mouth. If Covid-19 causes you to cough constantly, you may find you have a dry mouth because of that. Again, drinking lots of fluid to compensate for saliva drying up is key.
Flu, Coughs and Colds
Mouth breathing is common when you have a cold because you are congested. This can dry up the mouth, making you more prone to plaque. The mouth can also become dry because of flu medications like decongestants. Try to drink lots of fluid to help keep your mouth moisturised, and to keep saliva flowing. Sugar-free lozenges that also help soothe your throat can also help stimulate saliva.
If you have a sore throat you may want to use mouth rinse specifically for sore mouths and our St John’s Wood hygienist can offer advice on this. It should soothe your throat and any further soreness in your mouth. If you don’t have any in, salt water can help with a sore throat and control bacteria in the mouth. You may also be interested to know that good oral hygiene can actually help you avoid sore throats and infections in the mouth.
Tummy bugs relating to bowel habits can cause you to be dehydrated, which can affect your oral health. Try to keep sipping water as much as you can to keep your fluid levels up. If the tummy bug has caused vomiting it is important you wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth afterwards. If you are struggling with your normal toothpaste because of nausea, try and use a plain toothpaste without flavouring.
Mental Health Issues
When your mental health is not 100% because of a mental health condition, or periods of struggle, taking care of your teeth can be the last thing on your mind. Maybe getting out of bed is incredibly hard, and even taking a shower is a challenge. The most important thing is that you speak to your GP and get some support for how you are feeling.
When it comes to your oral health, do try to keep up with a daily twice a day brushing routine. It doesn’t matter if you get up at 3AM or 3PM, brush your teeth when you get up and before you go to bed. Your routine doesn’t matter, but the twice a day brushing does.
If you are relying on drugs, alcohol, unhealthy food or cigarettes during this time, again please do speak to your GP for advice on this problem first. We can help you with an adjusted appointment routine and specific advice too, depending on the problem. It is also really important you get to your dentist appointments so if there are any issues caused by a struggle with daily care, they are picked up quickly.
We are here to help you with your oral health through these challenging times. When you are feeling unwell, or struggling with any time of illness, it can feel as though oral care is not a priority.
The fact is, that if you are feeling really unwell the last thing you want in addition to that is a dental issue caused by a lack of daily care. Brushing and flossing twice a day can be a mountain to climb when you are feeling really unwell. However, the result is gums, teeth and oral tissues that stay in good shape and don’t cause you issues moving forward, which is great!
If you find that you are unwell and struggling to care for your teeth long-term, please do get in touch. We are here to offer advice and help you keep your teeth and gums in great shape.
Please speak to us on 02076241603 for further advice, or to book an appointment.