When your child has a fever, cough or other sickness, it is natural to concentrate on the issue at hand, not worry about oral health at that moment. However, keeping their mouths clean can be even more important during illness. Here are helpful tips for keeping your child’s mouth healthy when they are sick.
Continue Brushing and Flossing
Daily use of a toothbrush and dental floss helps prevent buildup of harmful germs and bacteria in your child’s mouth. A clean mouth helps keep their immune system stay focused on fighting the cold, flu, or whatever ailment is keeping them in bed. If your child’s illness includes vomiting, their teeth are exposed to acids that can weaken teeth. Help them rinse thoroughly and brush their teeth to avoid damage.
Watch Out for Sugary Medicines
There may be truth to the song lyrics, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” but it’s not helpful advice when it comes to children’s teeth. Some cough drops and syrups contain high amounts of sugar to improve medicinal flavor. The downside is they can leave sugary residue on the teeth. Look for sugar-free options when possible and have your child rinse well after taking any medicine formulated with sugar.
Keep Your Child Hydrated
A sick child needs plenty of water to stay hydrated, soothe a sore throat, and keep sinuses moist. In addition, dry mouth can occur during illness and increase risk of tooth decay. Drinking water helps combat both dry mouth and congestion.
Disinfect Dental Appliances
If your child has a dental appliance, such as a night guard, retainer, or athletic mouth guard, be sure it is cleaned thoroughly between uses. Contact our Elizabeth City dentist for information on the type of cleanser that is appropriate for your child’s device.
Keep Toothbrush Clean
When your child is well again, replace their toothbrush. Even a clean toothbrush may retain some bacteria or germs following use. To help protect your child from reinfection, discard the used toothbrush in favor of a new one, and disinfect it in between with mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly after disinfecting.
Should You Keep a Dental Appointment?
Yes, your child can go to the dentist if they are recovering from sickness, but there are exceptions. If your child has severe congestion, it will be too difficult and possibly distressing to keep their mouth open for an examination. If your child is vomiting, has a fever, or is contagious, it is better to stay home and reschedule the appointment.
For more tips on keeping teeth healthy through an illness, contact Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina.