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3 Risks Cold and Flu Season Poses to Your Child’s Smile

November 7, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmaggie @ 5:41 pm
little girl who needs to protect her smile during cold and flu season

Children seem to get their hands on everything. At home, this might not be a huge problem, but at school or friends’ houses, it could mean they pick up some nasty bugs and catch the flu or a cold, especially this time of year. Even with your best efforts to prevent it, you may have to deal with a sick kid, but you don’t necessarily have to deal with a cavity afterward. Read on to learn how being ill could put your child’s teeth at risk and ways to protect them this cold and flu season.

Dangers to Your Child’s Teeth During Sickness

In addition to battling all the symptoms of the flu or a cold, your child must also fight off bacteria that put teeth at risk of decay. Below are some of the ways that their oral health could be jeopardized by these illnesses.

Mouth Breathing

A stuffy nose can make it difficult to breathe, leading many kids to use their mouths more often. Unfortunately, this temporary habit can lead to dry mouth, which allows decay-causing bacteria to thrive and erode teeth.

Relaxed Routine

When people become ill, many tend to forgo certain parts of their regular routine. However, brushing and flossing can’t be skipped. If your child doesn’t brush and floss every day, including when they’re sick, sticky plaque builds up and eats away the protective enamel on their teeth.

Sugary Remedies

Cough drops, honey, and Nyquil may be soothing, but they come with an increased risk of tooth decay because they have sugar. This sugar feeds bad, cavity-causing bacteria, and they make acids that lead to decay.

Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth This Season

If your child gets sick, you have enough to deal with already—they don’t need a cavity or two as well! To help you both, you need to take these actions:

  • Give them lots of fluids. In addition to helping them to fight the infection, fluids (particularly water) can rinse their mouth and keep saliva production up.
  • Provide sugar-free cough drops. You can still give your child relief from a sore throat without risking their smile.
  • Maintain brushing and flossing habits every day. These tasks are small but vital to control oral bacteria.
  • Replace or sanitize their toothbrush. A contaminated toothbrush could cause reinfection, so you need to disinfect it using boiling water. Or you could give them a new one when they recover.
  • Have their dental checkup and cleaning on time, if possible. Although you shouldn’t take a sick child to the pediatric dentist’s office, you can take them in when they feel better to make sure no cavities have developed.

This year, your child may inevitably get sick with what’s going around, but you can take measures to preserve their smile throughout the ordeal. When you follow these tips, your child can bounce back quickly and be cavity free afterward.

About the Practice

At Dr. Maggie Davis & Associates, all our dentists are board-certified pediatric dentists, which means they’ve completed additional specialized training in treating and working with kids. As a result, parents may ask them for advice on maintaining healthy little smiles throughout the year. If you have questions about how to prevent cavities, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, you may reach out to our Palm Harbor office online or call us at 727-786-7551.

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