Safeguarding your child’s oral health is a year-round job. But it can get complicated when your little one is sick. Here are four tips on how to take care of your child’s teeth and gums when she is down with a cold or the flu:
1. Keep the child hydrated to avoid dry mouth.
Children are more likely to get dehydrated than adults because of their weight and inability to readily recognize thirst. Your child might also get dehydrated is she has a nasty cold or the flu. When she is sick, your baby needs plenty of fluids to prevent dry mouth, which is uncomfortable and can put her at greater risk of cavities. Cold or flu medications can also dry out your child’s mouth, so make sure she drinks plenty of water and sucks on sugarless throat lozenges to keep her saliva flowing.
2. Encourage good dental habits.
Brushing twice daily and interdental cleaning once a day are crucial when a child has a cold or flu. The child’s immune system is working hard to fight the infections, and it may appreciate some help. But your child may not feel like brushing or flossing when she is sick. Ask a family dentist in Glenview such as Glenlake Dental Care about flavored toothpaste and other ways to encourage your child to brush.
3. Avoid buying sugary cough drops.
Sweet cough drops increase the risk of cavities. Read the label before buying cough drops for your child and avoid cough drops that contain fructose or corn syrup.
4. Encourage her to swish and spit after she vomits.
Vomit contains stomach acids that can damage tooth enamel. Don’t let your child brush soon after vomiting. Instead, let her swish with water or a diluted mouth rinse to help wash the stomach acids away. She should then spit and brush about half an hour later.
Good dental habits are the key to protecting your child’s oral health. And when your child is sick, make sure she always sips on the right fluids so she may not get dehydrated.