Cold and Flu Effects On the Mouth
Nov. 3, 2017
The mouth is a mirror of our total body health, according to Diane Osso, Dental Hygiene Program Director at Concordeâs Aurora campus, Colo. So when a cold or flu wreaks havoc on our bodies, itâs also effecting our Dental Hygiene, Osso said. âWhenever we get run down, sick or, for women, hormonal changes â¦ our mouths show the signs sometimes before we actually feel sick,â she said. These signs are what Osso described as gingival inflammation â redness or edema, puffy or edematous, and sore gums. When our gingiva is inflamed, we are much less likely to brush correctly, which is to brush right at the gum line to remove bacterial plaque. âThis only exasperates the condition,â Osso said. âWe also take over the counter and prescription medications to combat our illness, which can also make things worse.â
Dry mouth leads to poor Dental HygieneOsso said, when our noses are clogged with mucus, we breathe through our mouths, which dries out oral tissue. When we are sick, we also donât eat as well as we normally would â¦ soft foods, soups, sodas to ease stomach aches. âThese food and drinks promote heavier plaque buildup,â she said. âWhen people who are sick come into the dental office to get their teeth cleaned, it is usually more painful.â Often, she said, a patient is rescheduled until theyâre feeling better. Patients with active cold sores on their lips get sent home because theyâre contagious. âColds and flus wreak havoc on our oral cavity,â Osso said. âThank goodness they are short duration.â
How the common cold can affect your Dental HygieneDelta Dental recently published a blog on its website that listed four ways being sick can impact your oral health and Dental Hygiene.
- Tooth pain. The largest sinus cavity in your face sits right above your upper jaw, and when it fills with fluid, the pressure can push down on the roots of your teeth, causing a toothache.
- Bad breath. When excess mucus occurs from post nasal drip, it creates an environment ripe for bacteria to multiply, giving the discharge an odor. Hence, you get bad breath.
- Sore throat. The common cold is the most common cause of a sore throat.
- Dry mouth. Dry mouth, caused by mouth breathing, can be made worse by antihistamines and decongestants. Saliva plays an important role in fighting tooth decay by washing away plaque-causing bacteria. So stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.