The winter months bring joy to children in a multitude of ways, from the magic of the holidays to the fun of vacations from school. Although these are wonderful things to look forward to, the colder weather also brings cold and flu season with it. Every parent knows that fighting through sickness is not the way you or your child want to spend the holidays, however, sometimes it’s unavoidable. While oral health might seem like a completely unrelated thing to focus on if your child gets sick, it’s more important than ever to help them practice good oral hygiene during that time. Your Frisco children’s dentist shares some important steps that you can take to help keep your child’s teeth healthy if they do end up fighting sickness this season.
Maintaining Your Child’s Oral Health Through Sickness
Regardless of how many vitamins your child takes, how often they wash their hands, or how great their immune system may be, they’re still human, and getting sick sometimes is just a part of life. Here are some practical ways you can help them practice great oral hygiene while they are fighting off illness in order to help them heal faster and stay well longer:
Regular Teeth Brushing
Colds and the flu often come with fatigue and body aches, so the idea of trying to coax your exhausted and uncomfortable child out of bed to brush their teeth at the sink can seem near to impossible. Unfortunately, bacteria abound in the human mouth more than ever during sickness, so it’s crucial to keep the teeth clean to prevent decay. The good news is, there are ways you can make it easier for your child, such as bringing their toothbrush to them along with a cup of water for rinsing and spitting.
Salt Water Gargling
It doesn’t taste great, but warm salt water is one of the easiest ways to eliminate germs in the mouth and throat. If your child is old enough to gargle, you can encourage them to do this by offering the reward of their favorite juice to help wash out the flavor afterwards.
If this is not something you’ve ever considered, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Most people don’t think to replace their toothbrushes until they begin to look worn down. However, if your child has been sick, it’s important to replace their toothbrush as soon as they start feeling well again in order to prevent any bacteria from reinfecting them. Another great measure to take is to rinse your child’s toothbrush out with extremely hot water after they brush in order to disinfect it.
You’ve probably heard it from plenty of doctors, but one of the best ways to help your child heal faster when they are sick is to keep them well-hydrated. It can also help prevent a dry mouth that is often caused by children breathing out of their mouths when their noses are stuffy. Dry mouth allows bacteria to spread more easily and can promote tooth decay. Some children are a bit more difficult to please when it comes to beverage options, and fortunately water is not the only way to keep them drinking fluids. If your child doesn’t like to drink plain water, you can also offer them natural juices without added sugar.
As a parent or caretaker, you will of course be doing everything within your power to keep your children well this season. But, if you do find yourselves fighting off an illness, remember to take these important steps to help maintain your child’s oral health in order to help their body heal faster and stay well in the long run!
About the Author
Dr. Brett E. Amedro leads the team of experts at Ten Mile Dental in Frisco. He is passionate about helping children learn how to take good care of their teeth at an early age so that they can be set up for oral health in the future. He has completed advanced dental training, and his expertise and experience in the field help him to provide the highest quality of care to patients of all ages. Are your child’s teeth ready for the winter months? Schedule their next checkup online, or call (970) 668-1010.