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Cold and flu season, how to take care of your mouth when you are sick

When you are sick, it’s even more important to take care of your dental health. The flu virus can live on a moist surface like a toothbrush for up to 72 hours, so make sure you never share toothbrushes with anyone. After you get better, you probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush unless you have a compromised immune system, but if you have any doubts, then replace it. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months.

Sucking on cough drops or throat lozenges can be comforting, but read the label and avoid ingredients like corn syrup or fructose. Lots of cough drops contain sugar, and the more frequently you suck them, the longer harmful bacteria have to feast on the sugars. These bacteria produce acid that causes cavities and other toxins that can infect and inflame your gums.

If you can, choose sugar-free cough drops.

If you are physically sick, rinse your mouth with water but wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth. This is because being sick exposes your teeth to stomach acid, softening your tooth enamel. Waiting a while gives your tooth enamel time to re-harden as pH levels normalise. Staying well-hydrated is essential, and the best thing to drink is water.