No one enjoys being sick. Even if you have the luxury of paid sick days, you still feel terrible. But what do you do if you’re sick while you have braces or a retainer? Thankfully, the team at Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento put together this guide to orthodontics when you’re sick.
Managing Your Pain
Pain could be caused by wearing a new aligner, tightening your braces, or your illness. Pain management can be crucial to a speedy recovery. When you’re uncomfortable, 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. You could also apply an icepack to the outside of the mouth for ten minutes at a time.
If the metal in your braces is causing irritation by rubbing against your mouth, ask your Dr. Damon about wax! The wax sits on top of your brackets and acts as a barrier to protect your skin from pinching and irritation. The discomfort caused by brackets rubbing on the skin can be extra annoying when you’re sick, but the wax allows you to sleep and watch your comfort shows in peace.
It can be hard to even think of eating when you’re sick, but you must get proper nutrients and fluids! Consuming enough food and water helps your organs and muscles function correctly to get you better quicker. If you have difficulty eating, try soft foods like bananas or soup. Water also helps prevent dehydration caused by throwing up and keeps you from developing a dry mouth, an uncomfortable condition that can make it hard to eat and increase your risk of tooth decay and infections.
Keep Up Your Oral Health
Finding the motivation to do anything can be challenging when you’re sick, and your oral hygiene can fall through the cracks. However, we must stress the importance of maintaining your routine when under the weather. Proper oral hygiene rids the mouth of harmful plaque and bacteria that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, among other things. Brushing and flossing when you’re sick help to remove germs and bacteria that could prolong your illness or produce infections.
If your illness or disease causes you to throw up, it’s important to disinfect your mouth whenever possible, but not by brushing your teeth! We know this tip might be a little gross, but it’s essential to your oral hygiene! When you throw up, your mouth becomes lined with stomach acid. If you brush your teeth, you push that acid throughout your mouth and help it reach places it wouldn’t have touched otherwise. You are also scrubbing the harsh acid into your teeth, which can erode your enamel. In place of brushing, rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix. You want to avoid brushing your teeth for at least thirty minutes after your last throw-up!
Before trying any medications or home remedies for pain, consult Dr. Damon.
Sugarless Cough Drops
We’ve all had an illness that had us eating cough drops like it was the main course. We don’t want to discourage you from soothing a sore throat or attempting to get rid of a cough, but we do want to encourage you to use sugar-free cough drops!
Did you know that cough drops have as much sugar as candy? That sugar can cause cavities and tooth decay, especially if you are unable to keep up with your oral hygiene routine during your sickness. On your way home from the doctor, make sure to read the labels when choosing your cough medication.
Patients with fixed orthodontic appliances need to be careful not to bite down on the cough drops! Hard food and candies can break your devices. The last thing you want when you’re sick is an orthodontic emergency, so eat with caution!
Invest In New Tools
Your toothbrush and water flosser can still have germs and bacteria on them after your body has rid itself of the microscopic invader. To avoid getting yourself sick (again!), you will want to replace the oral hygiene tools that you used when you were unwell.
Bonus tip: If you have a contagious illness, keep your devices away from your family’s or roommate’s tools! You don’t want to get them sick, too!
Visit Szymanowski Orthodontics
If you still need assistance, then pay Szymanowski Orthodontics a visit. Dr. Damon and the rest of the team can’t wait to see you. We’ve been serving Sacramento for over 50 years. Go here to schedule a free consultation.