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  • Michael Hendrickson

'Tis The Season For Colds

Colds and toothaches: Believe it or not, they're related.

It looks like winter decided to come early this year and with that, unfortunately, comes cold and flu season.

It starts with the feel of a tickle in the throat. By the next day or two, your throat gets sore, feeling like sandpaper that is then followed by a stuffy nose and body aches. Typically these symptoms last for 7 to 10, but can be more depending on the severity of the cold.

Usually our go to is to stock up on the cough medicines and nasal decongestants to block and hopefully kill the bug you have, but understanding how illness affects your oral health can possibly help you overcome your cold sooner.

SO what are the concerns regarding a cold, teeth, and your oral health?

Nasal Congestion and Dry Mouth

It's a feeling we all dislike: not being able to breathe through y0ur nose. And instead you're having to breathe through your mouth which then makes you constantly thirsty from being so parched. Nasal congestion is a major cause of dry mouth and subsequently reduces saliva flow. Furthermore, certain medications you may be taking can reduce saliva flow, making it harder for you with an already dry mouth from being sick.

Alleviating dry mouth is very important because excess dryness promotes growth of bacteria, increasing your changes of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, it makes it harder to chew, swallow, and get your nutrients you need in order to over come your cold.

To fight off dry mouth during a cold, continue to use the nasal decongestants. Also have a water bottle nearby to take frequent sips to keep your mouth lubricated, and suck on cough drops to stimulate saliva flow. Lastly, try using a saline nasal spray, which can significantly reduce sinus symptoms, and taking a hot shower, which heat can help clear your nasal passages.

Sinus Pain and Toothaches

The last thing you want is a toothache when you have a cold. But has it ever occurred to you that your toothache may be related to your cold? Pain in your upper teeth and tenderness around your sinuses may actually be signs of sinusitis, either caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection. The upper rear teeth are located near your sinuses, and pain in that area is common symptom of sinus conditions.

Acute sinuses may resolve on their own, but if you're experiencing these symptoms and they haven't improved with over-the-counter medicines, your best bet is to see your doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics.

Taking these steps as soon as you start to feel cold symptoms coming on, you're protecting your teeth, mouth and overall health, and you'll recover faster from the common cold- teeth included.

IT'S STILL VERY CRUCIAL TO BRUSH AND FLOSS YOUR TEETH DURING YOUR COLD. It will help keep your teeth safe from tooth decay from the cold virus you have.


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