Are you suffering from a consistent cough? Is it keeping you awake at night or impacting your ability to breathe or performing daily tasks? This common symptom is often associated with the cold or flu, but in recent months, it has also been tied to COVID-19. Whether you’ve tested positive for this highly infectious disease and are self-isolating at home, or you are staying inside to remedy the common cold or another virus, let an emergency dentist explain what you can do to prevent a decline in your oral health.
Instead of Cough Syrup, Opt for an Oral Medication
No matter the reason for your illness, if you need an over-the-counter or prescribed medication to help with your cough, find out if it is possible to ingest a pill instead of cough syrup. Here’s why:
Many liquid medications contain lots of sugar and alcohol, both of which can be detrimental to your oral health (i.e. dry mouth, tooth decay, cavities). To minimize the contact between your teeth and the solution, it is better to take a pill with water. This will keep your mouth from ingesting any sugars or additional contents that could cause an unnecessary visit to the dentist.
Avoid Cough Drops
It’s easy to grab a bag of cough drops while at the drug store when sick. Their flavors and fast-acting ability make them appealing. Unfortunately, they are loaded with sugar, which is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. When sucking on one of these, its contents quickly disperse throughout your mouth, clinging to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. As a result, you are left with a minimal cough and sore throat (temporarily) and the possibility for cavities to begin forming. If you must use cough drops, look for ones that use a natural sweetener instead of pure sugar.
Drink Lots of Water
A consistent cough can lead to dry mouth, which is an unpleasant experience. Not only can it cause bad breath, but it can also cause germs and bacteria to accumulate within your mouth. Without proper brushing or actively producing salivary glands, you could be faced with tooth decay and gum disease. But by drinking plenty of water, it will work to flush out your body’s toxins and keep your mouth producing enough saliva to remove bad bacteria and food particles throughout the day.
Although most dental offices are currently closed and seeing only emergency patients, it’s now more important than ever to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy and disease-free. If you suspect you are suffering from the symptoms associated with COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible for testing. No matter the result, make sure to continue practicing good oral and overall hygiene to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy during this time.
About the Author
Dr. Farshad Bakhtyari earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Physiology from Boston University before continuing his academic pursuits by earning a DMD degree and graduating Magna Cum Laude from the same university in 2002. As one of the two dentists at Premier Dental Care, PC, he and his team believe taking the appropriate precautions at home, even while you’re sick, can make a dramatic difference in the health of your smile. To ensure your teeth and gums are not negatively impacted by a cough that occurs as a result of the flu or COVID-19, contact us at (703) 860-8860 for helpful advice on which products to use and avoid as well as tips to taking care of your smile daily.