Trying to keep your children from getting sick becomes more difficult than usual during cold-and-flu season when winter rolls around. Understandably, when they are sick it can distract you from things you might normally be on top of, such as making sure they brush their teeth. The average child will get 6-8 colds per year with most of them coming during the winter. After all, children are more prone to disease, as they constantly touch everything and chew on more than they should. Imagine needing to take them to the dentist for a cavity while they were sick. No adult wants to endure that, either. Keep reading for some tips on kids’ oral care during cold-and-flu season from a children’s dentist in Cumberland.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated is always important, but even more than usual during sickness. If your child has a stuffy nose, they are probably breathing primarily through their mouth which causes dry mouth. Without enough saliva being produced to combat bacteria, drinking water frequently will help.
Change Their Toothbrush
Bacteria can remain on a child’s toothbrush even after they have recovered from an illness. While they may have developed an immunity to their disease, other members of the household have not. If your child is particular about which toothbrush they use and you can’t get to the store that day, you can boil their toothbrush in hot water to kill the germs. Also, while they are sick, be sure to keep their toothbrush away from those of other family members.
Gargle with Salt Water
If your child is old enough to know how to gargle, have them gargle with salt water. If they’ve never gargled, maybe have them practice with regular water to get the hang of it. The salt water kills germs in their throat and mouth, plus it helps them heal faster. Especially if they already have a sore throat due to illness, have them gargle with salt water once per day.
Make Sure Their Teeth Get Brushed
Even though this came up in the introduction, here it is sneaking in toward the end. If your child does get sick, instead of forcing them to go to the bathroom, you can bring them a cup to spit in and a cup of water to rinse with in addition to their brush. Even on sick days, make sure they are brushing twice.
Your child’s mouth is full of bacteria, but steps can be taken to minimize those bacteria through proper oral care and help them recover from illness sooner. It’s no fun having a cavity or being sick, so you want to do your best to help them avoid the combination of the two during cold-and-flu season.
About the Author
Dr. Saba Abernethy earned her dental doctorate from Boston University. She is included among only six percent of dentists in the U.S. to be a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and is also a member of the American Dental Association. If you seek a children’s dentist in Cumberland, she is ready to help toddlers up to teenagers and offers a friendly office atmosphere. Schedule an appointment for your little one on her website or call (401) 333-2700.