When the colder months approach, so does the winter fun! Drinking hot cocoa, celebrating the holidays, and cozy clothing begin to make an appearance. Unfortunately, so do seasonal sicknesses like the flu and colds. The average adult will get two to four colds throughout the year, while the average child gets six to eight, mostly occurring during the winter months. As a loving parent, you want to do all you can to keep them healthy, including their smile. Read on for four tips on keeping your little one’s oral health on track during cold and flu season!
Tip #1. Make Brushing Easy if Your Child Is Sick
No matter the age of your child, their teeth should be cleaned at least twice a day. Regular brushing cleans away cavity-causing particles and is your child’s first and best defense against tooth decay! If your little one is under the weather and is staying in bed, consider bringing them a glass of water and a spitting cup. This way they don’t have to come to the bathroom to brush. Everyday tasks can be quite a challenge with a cold, so making it easier and more convenient for them to brush their teeth will help ensure that they do even when they’re not feeling well!
Tip #2. Replace Their Toothbrush
Germs and bacteria can remain on toothbrushes long after recovery from illnesses. To keep your child’s teeth healthy, it’s wise to toss out their old toothbrush once they’ve gotten over their cold and get them a new one. You can even boil their toothbrush in hot water to kill off some of the germs if an extra one is immediately unavailable. If your child is sick, be sure to place their toothbrush far away from others to prevent the illness from spreading.
Tip #3. Have Your Child Gargle with Salt Water
Swishing salt water in your mouth can stop bacterial growth in your mouth and throat, as well as reduce plaque and inflammation. If your child is old enough to gargle, this antibacterial mouthwash will help keep their mouth healthy. As a guideline, the American Dental Association states that children six and under should not use mouthwash.
Tip #4. Help Your Child Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is essential for recovering from a cold or the flu. But how does it relate to their oral health? If your child has a stuffy nose, they may begin to breathe through their mouth, which can lead to a dry mouth. Since saliva production is important for washing away plaque, you’ll want to encourage them to consume plenty of water throughout the day to keep their teeth and gums clean.
With these helpful tips, you child’s smile can remain happy and healthy all throughout the flu and cold season!
About the Author
Dr. Sarah Esparza and her team at Esparza Family Dentistry serve Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas. She provides a range of children’s dental services, including high-quality checkups, fluoride treatments, and sealants. As a mother herself, she understands how important it is to keep your little one’s smile happy and healthy throughout every season of the year. To schedule your child’s next appointment, contact her website or call (757) 499-4707