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Cold and flu season is in full swing. It’s easy and all too common to fall out of the habit of taking care of your teeth when you’re feeling sick. But with these tips, your smile can stay strong.

Continue to brush and floss your teeth, even while you are sick. It is important to keep germs and infection away from teeth and gum tissue. The addition of certain medications to your routine can increase your risk for gum disease or enamel erosion. Also–never, ever share your toothbrush, especially if you are sick.

The flu virus can live on surfaces such as your toothbrush for up to 72 hours. If your immune system is strong, you probably won’t reinfect yourself through your toothbrush. However, if your brush is around other toothbrushes, they could touch and become contaminated. Some people throw away their toothbrush or electric toothbrush head after being sick. This may be a good option for you, as well. Remember that toothbrushes need to be replaced every 3-4 months, even when you are in the best of health.

Choose sugar-free cough drops. If you choose sugar-sweetened cough drops, the effect on your teeth will be the same as a piece of candy: the sugars in the cough drop will feed the bacteria in your mouth, increasing risk of cavities. The longer your teeth are exposed to the cough drop, the more at risk you are.

For more information, call Paul Hanna, DMD PC in New London, Connecticut, at 860-442-3323. Dr. Paul Hanna and our team are happy to help!