It’s that time of year when you start asking yourself, “Did I get my flu shot?” And, almost always, before you are able to contact your doctor and find out, you start coughing. Now, if you are an unwell orthodontic patient, you might begin wondering, “How do I take care of physical and orthodontic needs when I am sick?”
At Booth Orthodontics, we understand being sick can be uncomfortable and potentially miserable as an orthodontic patient. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of tips and tricks to help ease the discomfort and get you feeling your best as soon as possible!
Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene!
When you’re sick, brushing and flossing are probably the last thing on your mind. However, it is important that you continue to take good care of your teeth and gums while you’re sick. Consistent upkeep helps remove any bacteria that can give you infections or prolong your illness!
If you are throwing up, it is necessary to disinfect the mouth between vomiting sessions whenever possible. This might sound and feel a little gross, but don’t immediately brush your teeth! When you throw up, stomach acid lines the inside of your mouth and brushing too soon scrubs that harsh acid all over the surface of the teeth. Instead, rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix. You want to avoid brushing your teeth for at least thirty minutes after throwing up.
Pain Management is a Must!
Depending on your illness, body aches can be one of the first signs of sickness! If you are feeling pain, swelling, or irritation in your mouth, gargle some salt water. It might not taste great, but it soothes the mouth by reducing swelling and clears any bacteria that can keep you sick or cause infections.
Puffy or painful gums can make wearing your Invisalign trays unpleasant, so it’s important to reduce it as much as possible!
If you are a braces patient, you might find them causing more irritation than usual, maybe from cold sores or swelling. Ask your orthodontist about wax! The wax sits on top of your brackets and protects your mouth from the metal rubbing against it. Irritation caused by brackets can be extra annoying when you’re sick. If you are still experiencing severe irritation when you feel better, make an appointment with our office so we can make sure everything is alright.
Nutrition is Everything!
It’s hard to eat when you’re sick. Whether you’re throwing it back up or unable to think about eating at all, it’s essential to try to eat plenty of food and drink plenty of fluids. Water is key to avoiding dehydration and dry mouth when you’re sick. A dry mouth is uncomfortable and can make it hard to eat! If your teeth are sensitive, avoid crunchy or hard foods because they can add to your discomfort. Instead, try soft foods like applesauce, bananas, or a soup with good nutritional value. These “wet” foods are also helpful in soothing the mouth if it feels a bit dry.
Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops!
When you’re sick and coughing with a sore throat, you might find yourself with a whole bag of cough drops, unwrapping and eating them like it’s the day after Halloween and you have a lot of candy leftover because you didn’t get as many trick-or-treaters as expected. We’ve probably all done it – the candy and the cough drop thing. But did you know that cough drops are full of sugar? That sugar in the cough drop can cause tooth decay and lead to cavities, especially if you’re not maintaining your oral hygiene while you’re sick. So when you pick up cough drops on the way home from the doctor, make sure to read the label.
If you wear braces, be careful not to bite down on the cough drops, sugar-free or not. Hard foods and candies can damage your braces, and the last thing you want when you’re sick is a painful orthodontic emergency!
Replace Your Tools!
Once you start to feel better, you need to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) and the head on your water flosser. Germs and bacteria are still lingering on those devices even after your body begins to flush out the illness or infection. To keep from getting sick again, replace any tools (or parts) you used when you were under the weather.
Have More Questions? We’re Here to Help!
We know you are excited to see your new smile as soon as possible. Our entire team is excited, too! To get there quickly and safely, it’s vital that you take great care of your oral hygiene even when you don’t feel like it. Improper care can lead to germs and bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease or even tooth loss!
For more advice on how to take care of your orthodontic appliances or if you need answers to specific questions, contact us via call, text or email to schedule an appointment! Our orthodontists and team are always happy to help and encourage healthy habits. We look forward to hearing from you soon!