With the nasty flu strain that is doing the rounds thought to be reaching its peak, we obviously hope that our patients have and will manage to avoid it.
There is no doubt that the flu can make you feel very ill indeed, and many regular routines will go out of the window until you recover sufficiently from it should you be one of the unlucky ones to actually get it.
If you are unfortunate enough to become ill; however much you really don’t feel like doing so, it is important to continue to take good care of your teeth and gums. With your immune system compromised at times like this, problems such as gum disease are perhaps more likely.
The flu virus is harbored in the mucus in your respiratory system, therefore it comes in contact with your teeth and mouth every day you are infected. When people get the flu, they don’t stop brushing their teeth, in fact if they are frequently vomiting they may be using their toothbrushes more than ever. Congestion can cause the nasal passages to become blocked and cause a person to snore while they sleep. The drying out of the mouth that accompanies snoring encourages the growth of bacteria and the formation of cavities. Further, vomiting brings stomach acid to the teeth, which erodes enamel and can spur the development of tooth decay.
Perhaps one of the most important things that you can do when you have a virus is to drink plenty of water. From an oral and general health point of view, staying well hydrated is very important. It will help to contribute to your saliva flow which removes much ‘nasty’ bacteria and food debris from the mouth. It also prevents your mouth from becoming dry. This is important as bacteria multiply much faster in a warm dry environment such as occurs when you have a dry mouth.
A diet high in fruit and vegetables is ideal for providing the vitamins that help to fight off illnesses. Anyone who has had the flu though will know that this is unlikely to happen, and, when we feel like eating at all, we are probably more likely to reach for the biscuits and chocolate than anything healthy. Naturally, these ‘comfort foods’ will contain high sugar levels which are damaging for your teeth. Try to minimise these as much as you possibly can, or at least return to a healthy diet as soon as possible.
If you have had one of the more unpleasant viruses which can last for a week or two; we recommend that you see your dentist at the Friars Walk Dental Practice in Dunstable to make sure that your teeth and gums are still healthy. It is far better to intervene at an early stage than to leave it several months, until your usual appointment, before any possible treatment is carried out. If you are concerned, please call 0158 2638 908