Winter brings snow, ice and cold winds, but the true cold-weather side-effect we all dread is the sneezing, coughing, flus and sinus infections that seem to spread like wildfire once the temperatures drop. While your initial reaction may be to wrap yourself in blankets and refuse to do anything other than rest, these tips may help you to start feeling a little bit better!

Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops

Cough drops and lozenges can work wonders for a sore throat and a harsh cough. Many varieties of these temporary remedies, though, contain high fructose corn syrup. By sucking on sugary cough drops, you are placing the number one cause of cavities directly against your teeth! To cut down on these cavity-causing culprits, grab sugar-free lozenges to minimize your cough and keep your teeth safe.

Rinse Often If You Have a Stomach Bug

With the many symptoms of the flu come nausea and vomiting. After vomiting, your initial reaction may be to simply gulp down a glass of water or to brush your teeth to remove the taste. As stomach acid is often left in the mouth and on the teeth, it is important to swish and spit water rather than to simply drink a glass after getting sick. Immediately brushing your teeth can damage the outer layer of each tooth due to the high acid content, so if swishing water doesn’t make your mouth feel clean, mixing a teaspoon of baking soda into water will rinse away the taste, feel and residue.

Stay Hydrated

Whether you’re suffering from a sinus infection or the flu, it is common knowledge to stay hydrated, allowing your body to successfully fight the cold. Staying hydrated is also important for dental health as it prevents dry mouth. Dry mouth is both uncomfortable and hazardous to your teeth as it creates an environment that produces cavities. If you cannot drink lots of fluids, sugar-free cough drops and lozenges will help to maintain saliva production and prevent cavities.

Choose the Right Fluids

The best drink to grab anytime, especially when you’re sick, is water. But if  you need to replenish electrolytes, sports drinks should be used in moderation as they often have high sugar content. If you want a warm beverage to calm your chills, tea is a great alternative to water.

Don’t Share

Contrary to what you were taught in school – sharing isn’t always caring. While it’s never a good idea to share your toothbrush, it is even worse to do so when you are battling a cold. According to the American Dental Association, germs can live on damp surfaces, like a toothbrush, for up to 72 hours. Be sure to keep your germs to yourself!

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At Beautiful Smiles Family Dental Center in Etters, Pennsylvania, Dr. Graver and Dr. Koop offer many techniques to help you maintain excellent oral health! We are always concerned about your comfort. Please call us if you have any questions about how our services may benefit you or someone you know.