We are in that tricky time of year when the weather can feel like summer one day and winter the next – and the transitional temperatures found in both fall and spring create the best conditions for colds and flus to spread. While the main goal is to minimize your symptoms when you’re feeling congested or fighting a cough, remember to think about your oral health too.
- Cough drops can relieve symptoms, but try to suck on sugar free drops, and be sure not to have too many of them during the day. Some have active ingredients that could increase your heart rate, so you should think both about your teeth and your overall health when you pop one in your mouth.
- Congestion can cause you to breathe through the mouth, which can lead to dry mouth, a condition that sets the stage for the growth of bacteria, and can cause tooth decay and even gum disease. Some common cold medications can further dry out your mouth, making it difficult to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consider using a humidifier to keep the air inside moist when your mouth is dry.
- If you have a cold and feel pain in your upper teeth, or around your cheeks and nose, that may be a sign of a sinus problem. Sinusitis can resolve on its own, but if it lingers on and is accompanied by ongoing heavy congestion, you should see your doctor, and find out if an antibiotic might be recommended.
- While washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid getting a cold, note that germs and bacteria that grow in your mouth can make you sick if you don’t brush and floss regularly and change your toothbrush every few months. Colds are more likely to linger and pneumonia more likely to develop in those who don’t practice good oral health.
Fall is a beautiful time to year, and far from the biting cold and snow we will experience in just a few short months, but it can still bring with it colds and coughs. Being smart in how you take care of yourself can make a pretty season seem even brighter.