No matter how much you try to protect your little one from germs during cold and flu season, illness can happen. If your child is feeling under the weather, you will rely on cold medications and home remedies to keep them comfortable. However, fighting stuffy noses and chest congestion can affect their dental health. Here’s how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy while helping them through the cold and flu season.
1. Choose Sugar-Free Medications
Children’s medications come in liquid forms and have many flavors. However, they often contain syrups and sugars that feed cavity-causing bacteria. Cough drops and throat lozenges bathe your child’s teeth in sugar. It is best to choose sugar-free products. Your little one should brush their teeth or rinse their mouth with water after taking any medications.
2. Keep Your Child Hydrated
If your little one has a stuffy or runny nose, they will probably breathe through their mouth, which can make it dry. Not to mention, dehydration is a common complication of illness, decreasing saliva production. A dry mouth is a great environment for oral bacteria growth that can lead to bad breath, cavities, and infections. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water to keep them hydrated and their mouth moist.
3. Commit to Keeping Their Mouth Clean
Your child may not feel like getting out of bed to brush their teeth, but they must continue brushing and flossing. Keep a glass of water and their toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss next to their bed to make it easier for them to keep their mouth clean.
4. Change Their Toothbrush
It’s unlikely your child’s toothbrush will reinfect them with a cold or flu, but it’s better to swap it out. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that has earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Make sure it accommodates the size of their mouth.
5. Rinse with Salt Water
If your little one is old enough to rinse their mouth, salt water is a great option. It is a natural anesthetic and can ease sore throats. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water to soothe their sore throat and keep their mouth clean.
Cold and flu season doesn’t have to leave a lasting mark on your child’s oral health. You can keep them comfortable to get the rest they need while protecting their teeth and gums.
About Dr. Robert Weisenburger
Dr. Weisenburger is a second-generation dentist. He achieved his dental degree from Ohio State University and has pursued advanced education in various specialties, like children’s dentistry. He provides the compassionate care children need for healthy smiles. Contact his office at (419) 469-1485 to schedule an appointment.