Being sick is never fun, and caring for yourself when you feel awful can be a chore. If you or your family are a first-time orthodontic patient and ill, one of the first questions on your mind might be, “How do I get healthy without disrupting my orthodontic care?”
At Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates, our goal is for your treatment journey to be comfortable, safe, and effective, no matter the circumstances. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of tips to help ease the discomfort and get you feeling your best as soon as possible!
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene.
When you’re sick, brushing and flossing your teeth is probably not very high on the priority list — if it’s there at all! However, it is important to maintain your oral hygiene routine even when you don’t feel good. Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and plaque from the mouth that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss, among other things! Continuing to care for your teeth and gums when you’re sick also rids the mouth of bacteria and germs that can prolong your illness!
Our next oral hygiene tip is a little gross, but don’t skip ahead! You need to know this tip to ensure a healthy mouth! If your illness makes you throw up, it is essential to disinfect your mouth, but don’t brush your teeth! Instead, rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix.
When you throw up, your mouth becomes lined with stomach acid. The acid can erode your enamel, the protective covering on your teeth. To help prevent this, you want to avoid brushing your teeth for at least thirty minutes after throwing up. If you brush your teeth immediately after, you spread the residue throughout your mouth and scrub the harsh acid into your teeth.
Remember: A consistent routine and beneficial habits keep the mouth healthy and your smile and treatment goals on track and within reach!
Manage Pain Accordingly.
Whether you have aches and pains caused by your illness, you just got a new aligner, or your braces tightened, pain management could be necessary for a speedy recovery. When your mouth or body hurts, you are less likely to wear your removable appliances (if applicable), perform your oral hygiene, eat, or sleep properly, all of which are critical for getting better and preserving your treatment schedule.
If you are suffering from pain, swelling, or irritation in your mouth, gargle some salt water. 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.
If you find your braces causing more aggravation than usual, maybe from mouth sores or other issues, ask your orthodontist about wax! The wax sits on top of your brackets and acts as a barrier between your mouth and the metal rubbing against it. Irritation caused by brackets can be extra annoying when you’re sick, but the wax can help you sleep and watch your comfort shows in peace.
Before taking any medications or using home remedies for pain, consult Dr. Giarusso, Dr. Livanos, or your doctor!
Be Sure To Eat And Drink!
Consuming anything when you’re sick can feel impossible and unappetizing, but you need to eat and drink sufficiently!
Getting enough fluids is vital for recovery. Adequate hydration helps your body’s muscles and organs function correctly to get you feeling good as new in no time! Drinking water also prevents dry mouth, a condition that can make eating difficult and increase your risk of tooth decay and other diseases.
If eating is uncomfortable, try sticking to soft foods like bananas or soup. Getting enough nutrients is essential to feeling your best during and after sickness!
Sugar-Free Cough Drops, Please!
It’s easy to eat soothing cough drops like candy when you have a sore throat or a painful, persistent cough. But did you know that some cough drops have as much sugar as candy? It’s true! That sugar can cause tooth decay, especially if you do not keep up with your oral hygiene routine when you’re sick. Be sure to opt for the sugar-free option to protect your teeth while alleviating a symptom.
Patients with fixed orthodontic appliances must be extra careful when consuming hard cough drops! Biting down on hard foods and candies can break your devices and result in pain. A painful orthodontic emergency is the last thing you want when you’re sick!
Replace Your Tools.
Once you feel better, you should get a new toothbrush and tip for your water flosser. These hygiene tools can harbor bacteria and germs long after your body rids itself of the illness. To keep from getting sick again, replace any items you used when you were under the weather.
Bonus Tip: If you have a contagious illness, keep your oral hygiene tools away from others in the bathroom. You don’t want to pass your sickness along to someone else!
Have Questions? Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates Has The Answers!
At CMOA, we are passionate about patient care and education on things orthodontic! If you have any questions regarding treatment or orthodontic healthcare when unwell, we would be more than happy to assist! Please feel free to contact or visit us at one of our three convenient locations!