The brutal February weather is taking hold, and as we take refuge indoors, colds are circulating schools and workplaces. We are all experts in giving people space, not going out when we are sick, and always having hand sanitizer at the ready (thanks, social distancing!). But sometimes, getting sick isn’t avoidable. If you become sick during orthodontic treatment, there are a couple of things you should be extra conscious of to avoid bacteria building up and slowing down your progress. We’ve compiled a quick list of orthodontic tips for when you’re under the weather to help you make a swift recovery.
- Stay hydrated: Water is essential when you are sick, but it is even more so if you have braces or clear aligners. Colds often go hand in hand with stuffy noses, which increase mouth breathing. This dries out your mouth and increases the risk for cavities and gum disease as the harmful bacteria are left undisturbed. You can protect your mouth and rinse away bacteria by drinking lots of water.
- Maintain your routine: It can be very tempting to skip steps in your oral health routine when you are sick, but don’t get into this habit. You need to brush, floss, and wear your retainer as usual, even if you are tired. Trust us—you’ll feel much better with a clean smile!
- Gargle saltwater: An old-school tip—put a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and gargle. Gargling saltwater helps decrease inflammation while flushing away bacteria in your mouth, and it’s also great for any post-adjustment soreness. By removing these bacteria, you also protect your teeth from plaque buildup.
- Replace your toothbrush: If you’ve been sick, go ahead and toss your toothbrush. Your toothbrush can hold onto bacteria, slowing down your recovery or reinfecting you!
- Sugar-free cough drops: When you have a cough that won’t leave you alone, there is nothing wrong with using a cough drop to soothe your throat and quiet your cough. However, you should make sure that whatever cough drop you use is sugar free, as the sugar can lead to plaque buildup or possible staining. And be sure not to bite down. Doing so can cause damage to your appliances!
- Pay attention to medications: Certain medications (like Advil) reduce inflammation and may impact your orthodontic treatment. Ask your orthodontist to check your medicine to ensure it won’t affect your orthodontic progress.
Remember to take care of yourself and your teeth this cold and flu season. If you happen to get sick, we wish you a speedy recovery! Have any questions about tackling a cold with braces? Call us and speak with one of our experts at Hutta & Hutta Orthodontics.