Now that cold and flu season is here, did you know these common viruses and similar illnesses could affect your child’s oral health? Here are just a few examples:
Runny noses, post-nasal drips, and decongestant medications can change the natural oral flora in your child’s mouth and throat. This can lead to smelly odors, especially if there’s a lot of mucous drainage. Encourage them to brush their tongue, gargle with warm salt water, and change their toothbrush out when they’re sick. We also know it’s not the most fun but using a Neti Pot and rinsing with saline packets and distilled water can greatly help reduce mucous from your sinus cavities, too.
Dry Mouth and Cavities
Cold medicines often dry out your mouth as part of their decongestant properties. They also contain sweeteners to make them easier to swallow. This can lead to an environment where oral bacteria thrive, raising your child’s risk of cavities. Make sure to have them brush and floss regularly, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash, and drink water frequently throughout the day to help. At a minimum, you should wash down medication with water to wash away syrupy sugars in the medicine.
Cold Sores and Chapped Lips
When our immune systems are knocked down, we’re more prone to getting canker sores and fever blisters. Stuffy noses also lead to mouth breathing, creating dry and flaky lips. Be sure to keep a trusty lip moisturizer on hand to help combat the cold weather blues on your smile. Additionally, fungal infections can break out at the corners of our mouth when seasons change and we have a great prescription for this problem known as angular cheilitis. It is extremely common in fall and spring especially in kids that constantly lick their lips or sleep with their mouths open.
Going out in the cold weather and taking in a deep breath may cause some serious tooth sensitivity. But cold sensitivity is fairly normal, so don’t be alarmed. However, you should be on the lookout for sensitivity to hot temperatures, sweet foods, or chewing. If one of those is a problem, call our office immediately.
Don’t Forget Your Second Checkup!
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan still has limited availability for checkups now through the remainder of the year. Be sure to call today to make use of your dental insurance benefits before they expire!