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How to Protect Your Smile When The Flu Strikes

The current flu season is on track be one of the worst in years, according to the Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

New data from the CDC released last Friday estimates that so far this season, at least 6.4 million people have caught the flu, 55,000 people have been hospitalized and 2,900 people have died.

… and California is among the many states where the flu is reportedly widespread.

While getting the flu is sometimes unavoidable, there are some preventive measures you can take to protect the health of your mouth and teeth when sickness strikes.

Here are four tips we recommend:

1. Choose sugar-free cough drops and liquid medications.

Cough drops help relieve nagging coughs and cavity-causing dry mouth. Check the label to avoid cough drops and liquid medications containing fructose or corn syrup. These sugars can lead to cavities, especially if you keep them in your mouth for a long time. Choose sugar-free lozenges, and try sticking to medications that come in tablet form instead.If you give children 4 years or older liquid cold medication sweetened with sugar, have them rinse with water afterward and brush their teeth if given right before bedtime or a nap.

2. Hydrate with the right kinds of fluids.

We’ve all heard you should drink fluids when fighting the flu; just make sure you choose the best kinds. Water is the preferred choice, as it keeps you hydrated and washes away cavity-causing acids. Sugar-free sports drinks can give you an energy boost and replace electrolytes. Low-sugar juice can be consumed in moderation if followed with water to wash away sugars from your teeth.

3. Maintain your daily oral health care routine.

You may not feel like doing much when you’re sick, but don’t let misery and exhaustion keep you from brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

4. Combat side effects.

Vomiting can be an unfortunate side effect of the flu. Not only does it dehydrate you, but stomach acids can also coat your teeth. Although you may be inclined to brush immediately, wait about 30 minutes. Brushing right after can wear down enamel softened by acid, so it’s better to swish and spit with water and baking soda several times to clean your mouth.Baking soda helps neutralize stomach acid.

If you start to feel under the weather during cold and flu season, take steps as soon as possible to protect your oral and overall health.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.