Dr. Jared Lee understands how unpleasant being sick can be. Being sick as an orthodontics patient can be intimidating because you want to get better, but you don’t want to slow down your treatment program or negatively impact your smile.
Our mission is to provide every patient with a safe, comfortable, and effective orthodontic treatment journey, no matter the circumstances. That’s why we’ve created the following guide to help you with your oral and physical health when you’re sick.
Don’t Slack On Your Oral Hygiene!
Proper cleaning rids the mouth of bacteria that can result in bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. During treatment, we stress the importance of brushing and flossing twice daily for a healthy, beautiful smile. It should not be a shock that we encourage maintaining that routine when you’re sick, too! Besides keeping your teeth and gums healthy, some of the bacteria that brushing and flossing remove could prolong your illness! So, if you don’t feel like getting out of bed to complete your routine, remind yourself that every cleaning could take one day off your sickness.
This next tip might sound a little gross, but don’t skip ahead! This knowledge is crucial to the health of your teeth! If you’re vomiting, don’t reach for that toothbrush! While it is essential to disinfect and refresh the mouth whenever possible during throw-up sessions, you don’t want it to be with your toothbrush! When you vomit, your mouth becomes covered in stomach acid. You push that acid around your mouth and into your teeth when you brush your teeth. This could harm your enamel! Instead, rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix. Don’t brush your teeth for at least thirty minutes after your last throw-up!
If you have a removable orthodontic device, you should continue wearing your equipment unless you are throwing up. Wash the devices frequently to disinfect them, too.
Remember: A consistent routine and beneficial habits keep the mouth healthy and your smile and treatment goals within reach!
Pain Management Might Be Necessary.
When you’re unwell, comfort is likely at the forefront of your mind. If your body is in pain, you are less likely to wear your removable appliances (if applicable), perform your oral hygiene, or eat and sleep properly, all of which are critical for getting better and preserving your treatment schedule.
Discomfort in the mouth could be brought on by your illness itself or from the tightening of your braces or wearing a new aligner. Gargling some salt water can alleviate swelling and pain in the mouth. It might not taste great, but it soothes the mouth by reducing swelling and clears any bacteria that can keep you sick or produce infections. An ice pack applied to the outside of the mouth can also help reduce swelling and ease soreness.
If you want to try pain medication or a home remedy, consult Dr. Lee, your pharmacist, or your doctor first!
Nutrition is Key!
Sometimes when you feel under the weather, the last thing on your mind is eating or drinking, but sufficient fluids and nutrients are the best way to unlock a speedy recovery.
Adequate hydration helps your body’s organs function correctly to get you better quickly! The water also relieves tenderness in the muscles, flushes the mouth of germs, and prevents dry mouth, an uncomfortable condition that can make it hard to eat. Be sure to keep your water glass full and nearby!
If eating is uncomfortable, try consuming soft foods like bananas, apple sauce, or nutritious soups. You’ll need the strength offered by food during and after your illness.
Sugar-Free Cough Drops Are Better For Your Teeth!
Cherry or honey cough drops are often the go-to treatment for a sore throat or stubborn cough. It’s easy to eat one after another, especially if they are lessening your symptoms, but did you know that cough drops have as much sugar in them as candy? Sugar can erode your enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable. If you are unable to execute your oral hygiene routine when you’re unwell, you’re at an increased risk of tooth decay at the hands of cough drops! To protect your teeth, reach for sugar-free medications.
Patients with clear aligners and clear braces should consider cough drops without coloring to avoid staining their discreet appliances.
Patients with fixed orthodontic appliances must be careful when eating cough drops, whether they are sugar-free or not. Hard foods and candies can damage the metal in your mouth. The last thing you want when you’re sick is a painful orthodontic emergency, so consume cautiously!
Replace Your Tools!
Once you are feeling better, you should get a new toothbrush (or brush head) and tip for your water flosser. These devices can harbor bacteria and germs that could infect you all over again! Replace your tools to break the cycle.
Extra: If you share a bathroom, keep your tools away from other people’s belongings while you’re sick to avoid spreading your illness.
Need More Guidance? Dr. Jared Lee Can Help!
Whether you are a new or long-time patient, navigating your orthodontic treatment when you’re sick can be stressful and confusing. Our bilingual team is readily available to answer any questions you may have about your care while sick.
Please contact us to speak to our knowledgeable staff or to book an appointment at one of our two locations. Dr. Jared Lee is passionate about transforming smiles and willing to help you tackle any obstacle in your way — including sickness.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!