As cold, stomach bug, and flu season starts, it's important to realize that not only will getting sick make you feel terrible, but if you're not careful, your teeth can be harmed as a result. People often don't worry about their teeth when dealing with fevers, runny noses, and stuffy sinuses, but making tooth care a priority during sickness will help you to avoid more costly dental problems in the future. 

Here are some tips to help you avoid dental damage when you're under the weather. 

1. Keep your tea unsweetened.

To help keep the nasal drip at bay and to help with throat soreness, many people sip hot tea when they're feeling sick. However, when loaded with sugar (even honey), constantly sipping tea bathes your teeth in acidic sweetness that weakens your enamel and feeds harmful bacteria. Instead of sweetening your tea when you're ill, try sipping unsweetened herbal teas. If can't stand tea without sweetening, consider drinking the tea more quickly and then brushing your teeth after you are finished.

2. Use sugar free lozenges.

Cough drops can often help soothe sore throats and make it easier to breathe. Some cough drops are mostly sugar or corn syrup, and sucking on them constantly throughout the day is similar to sucking on a lollipop. Look for sugar free varieties when choosing cold remedies.

3. Never skip brushing.

When you have a nasty bug, you may spend a lot of time resting, and your regular routine is disrupted. For example, if you always brush your teeth before leaving for work, staying home may cause you to simply forget to brush. It's just as (if not more) important to brush your teeth, even if you will be sitting home sick all day. 

4. Rinse and spit.

If you become so ill that you are vomiting, your teeth will need more attention. Your enamel can erode when you throw up because the contents of your stomach can be very acidic. But brushing right away can actually make the damage worse. Instead, rinse out your mouth with water after throwing up to help neutralize it and rinse out the remnants. After several minutes, come back to brushing, and don't forget to follow with some mouthwash for an added layer of protection. 

Just because you're feeling ill, doesn't mean your teeth have to pay the price. For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, contact a local dentist, such as at Advara Dental & Dentures.