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A Guide To Brushing Your Teeth When Sick

Published by Webmaster

Dealing with a stomach bug or any illness that triggers gastrointestinal upset is never easy. It is a time when even simple tasks like brushing your teeth can seem daunting. However, maintaining oral hygiene during sickness is crucial, especially to protect your teeth from the effects of stomach acid after vomiting.


The Importance of Dental Care When Sick

When you’re sick, especially with a stomach virus, your oral health needs extra attention. Vomiting exposes your teeth to stomach highly erosive acids. This exposure can weaken your teeth’s enamel, increasing sensitivity and even decay. While it might be the last thing on your mind, brushing your teeth after vomiting is essential in protecting your dental health.

However, it’s not as straightforward as brushing immediately. Instead, rinse your mouth with water to wash away the acids and wait for about 30 minutes before brushing. Brushing too soon can cause the acid to rub against tooth enamel, potentially causing more harm.

Other things you should focus on while you’re sick and attempting to recover include:

  1. Hydration and Diet
    1. Staying hydrated is key during any illness. Sports drinks and electrolyte fluids can be beneficial in restoring the body’s balance, especially after episodes of vomiting or diarrhea. However, it’s crucial to choose sugar-free versions when possible, as sugary drinks can contribute to tooth decay.
    2. You should opt for bland meals that won’t upset your GI tract or harm your teeth. Avoid foods with heavy acid and sugar content.
  1. Combatting Dry Mouth and Cough
    1. Illnesses like the flu or COVID-19 often lead to dry mouth or persistent coughing. Cough drops can help alleviate these symptoms but increase the risk of cavities, especially when they are consumed frequently. Keeping your mouth moist and free from sugar helps maintain good oral hygiene.
  1. Preventing Spread of Illness
    1. During cold and flu season, washing your hands regularly becomes even more important. The flu virus can live on moist surfaces for some time, so keeping shared spaces clean and disinfected is essential. Wearing a mask and practicing good hygiene are effective ways to prevent spreading the virus to others in your household.
  1. Oral Hygiene Routine
    1. As you begin to recover from your illness, it’s important to continue—or resume—your regular oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing should remain a part of your daily schedule. If your mouth feels particularly sensitive, you should ask your dentist about using toothpaste that caters to sensitive teeth.

While recovering from illnesses such as the flu, strep, or COVID-19, taking these steps can not only aid in your recovery but also help you preserve your dental and GI health.

Resuming Dental Routine Post-Illness

Once you start feeling better, it’s important to get back on track with your regular dental care routine. Here’s a listicle to guide you:

  • Replace Your Toothbrush: After you recover, consider getting a new toothbrush. Germs from your illness can linger on the bristles, potentially leading to reinfection.
  • Rehydrate and Balance pH: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help balance the pH in your mouth.
  • Gentle Brushing: You should resume your twice-daily brushing routine by using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Regular Mouthwash Use: Use a mouthwash to help kill any lingering bacteria and freshen your breath.

Signs You Should Visit a Doctor or Dentist

Sometimes, an illness with frequent vomiting can lead to dental issues that require professional attention. Here are some signs that you should visit a doctor:

  • Persistent tooth pain or sensitivity, especially when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Noticeable changes in the color of your gums
  • If a tooth is loose or lost
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, which could indicate an infection

Follow Up With Brian Homann, DDS

Recovering from an illness is a crucial time to reassess your dental health. For those in need of a dental check-up post-recovery, consider visiting Brian Homann, DDS. Our practice is dedicated to helping you maintain optimal oral health, especially after an illness. Book your appointment today to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy and strong!

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Dr. Homann goes out of his way to make sure you understand each step of the process and are comfortable the whole way. Each member of their team genuinely cares about their patients, and knowing I will have the best care every time I walk in the door makes going to the dentist a whole lot easier. Thank you to all the kind and wonderful staff, you make all the difference.

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I needed a lot of work on my teeth and I'm so glad I found such a great dentist. He explains everything to you and also is very upfront on all posibiltys that's can happen to the tooth he works on and also explains what you can expect after the dental work. He's also very friendly and everyone at the office makes you feel comfortable. Karen and Sandra in the front office are wonderful as well. They also have wonderful dental hygienist. My insurance is not in network with Dr. Homan but it's well worth the extra money to still go to the best!

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Dr. Homann's practice is very clean and up to date. His practice also has televisions to watch when you are getting your teeth cleaned or any other work done which is awesome!

The chairs are very comfortable and the staff is very polite. Dr. Homann is also a very knowledgeable dentist with the ability to make every patient feel calm and comfortable no matter what the situation. He also has done volunteer work for the homeless donating his time and resources to help the less fortunate, if that doesn't let you know what kind of practice this is I don't know what will. I will definitely be coming back here again!

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