Fight the Flu With Good Oral Hygiene

Everyone has their own personal regimen when it comes to avoiding the cold and flu bugs common to the winter season. Maybe you douse yourself in gallons of Purell to keep germs at bay. Perhaps you wear a face mask in the office. Or maybe you surround yourself with humidifiers to ensure your mucus membranes remain moist and functioning at peak levels to stop bacteria and viruses from entering your system.

You may have heard that oral health and overall health are closely linked, so regardless of your preferred method of fighting the flue, you should know that preserving your oral health can actually help you to reduce your risk of getting cold and flu bugs, or at least help to minimize the impact. If you want to make sure you’re practicing optimal oral hygiene as a way to fight the flu this season, here are a few strategies to incorporate into your personal health regimen.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate Your mouth isn’t meant to be a dry place. Saliva does a lot to flush away lingering food and bacteria and balance the pH of you mouth between cleanings, but you have to do your part by drinking plenty of water to keep your entire body hydrated. If you’re diligently drinking the recommended eight glasses a day (and then some), but you still suffer from dry mouth, it’s time to speak with your dentist about steps to rectify the situation.

Dry mouth could be caused by any number of factors like heredity, age, or illness that are out of your control. It could also be caused by medications or tobacco use, issues you could potentially address. In the meantime, there are products like hydrating mouthwash specifically formulated to help with dry mouth. Using them could not only keep your mouth healthy, but also fight the flu.

Improve Your Diet You aren’t what you eat, but the foods and beverages you consume have a marked impact on your health, for good or for ill. When it comes to both your oral and your overall health, one item you might want to focus on is sugar. This tasty additive is hidden all over the place, and you’re likely ingesting a lot more than you imagine.

Adverse side effects like weight gain and changes in brain chemistry are pretty well known by now, as is the role sugar plays in the formation of cavities. When you drink high-sugar soda or juice, or you snack on candy and cookies, sticky sugar clings to teeth and feeds bacteria, leading to plaque and tartar buildup, and ultimately, tooth decay and gum disease.

When your mouth is already fighting infection from the food you eat, you may have a harder time staving off other bacteria and viruses, like flu bugs. Don’t forget, many cold and flu medications (liquid cough syrup, cough drops, etc.) have added sugar that only

exacerbates the problem. In other words, consider addressing the sugar in your diet and seeking sugar-free alternatives as a way to promote good oral health and lower risks for catching the flu.

Be Diligent with Oral Hygiene Brush, floss, rinse, repeat. Keeping up with good oral hygiene isn’t rocket science. After meals, you simply take the time to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash in order to clear away leftover food particles and bacteria that could prove harmful to your teeth and gums.

There is a connection between your oral and your overall health. When you take necessary steps to maintain oral health, there’s a good chance your entire body will benefit. Make sure to see your dentist regularly, as well, for professional checkup, cleaning, and x-rays.

Get Rid of That Old Toothbrush If you’ve already caught whatever cold or flu bug seems to be going around local offices and schools, you might feel pretty confident about your odds of staying healthy from here on out. Guess what? You can not only catch other strains, but allowing bacteria to linger on surfaces in your home could lead to reinfection.

In addition to cleaning and disinfecting the house after illness, you need to toss that toothbrush, which could act as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Would you be willing to pay a few bucks to avoid another bout of the flu? If so, bite the bullet and buy a new toothbrush.

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