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The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s easy to get out of the habit of taking care of our oral health. But now is a vital time to maintain your mouth health. Winter is here, and unfortunately, this means cold and flu season is coming right behind it. Here are some oral health tips for when you’re feeling under the weather.

First, some oral hygiene things to address. Make sure that you are brushing twice a day for two minutes each session. Never,ever share your toothbrush–especially if you are sick. Continue to floss every day.

It is important to note that the flu virus can live on surfaces, such as a toothbrush, for 72 hours. If you have a healthy immune system, it is unlikely that you will re-infect yourself. However, those germs may cross-contaminate other toothbrushes and make other people sick. You may opt to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head after being sick.

During your illness, it is good to reduce your consumption of sugars and acids. For example, choose sugar-free cough drops. Sucking on sugared cough drops has the same effect on your teeth as sucking on a piece of candy. The longer it is in your mouth, the longer your mouth bacteria can feed on the sugars and multiply. This process produces an acid that eats away at your tooth enamel.

On a similar note, try to choose the correct liquids. Plain water is usually best for your teeth. If you choose to drink sports drinks while you are sick, be sure to accompany them with plain water if you can. Choose varieties with little or no sugar. If you decide to drink tea, try to avoid adding lemon and sugar.

For more information, call Plano Parkway Dental in Plano, Texas, at 972-468-1850. Dr. Jesse Taylor and our team are happy to help keep you well this season!