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Effects of the Common Cold on Your Teeth

You probably get a cold every year during the same time period. Often as the seasons change and it gets colder outside we are more prone to catching a cold, especially when everyone around us has a cold. A sore throat, stuffy nose, and an achy body are just some of the common symptoms associated with the common cold. What most people don’t realize, however, is that there are other not-so-common symptoms of a cold that can severely affect your oral health and using cough medicine to combat the symptoms of the cold virus will only cause more damage to your teeth.

So, how can you prevent oral health issues along with the other common symptoms of colds? Before answering this question, let’s first take a look at the damage that can be done to teeth by the effects of the common cold as well as the possible damage caused by standard over-the counter cold cures like cough medicine.

Nasal Congestion Equals Dry Mouth
A common misconception about nasal congestion is that the symptoms only appear in the nose. The truth is that while the breathing process is severely hampered during a cold, a secondary effect of this is dry mouth, which reduces saliva within the mouth. Why is saliva important for teeth? The answer is that saliva helps maintain a healthy bacteria level within the mouth, lack of saliva increases the chances of tooth decay and gum disease.

Sinus Infection Equals Toothache

A cold can often lead to sinus infections, as well as other sinus problems which ultimately affect the teeth, especially those located in the upper rear part of the mouth. The teeth located within this region are the closest to the infected area and also get pressurized during a sinus infection along with the eyes, nose, and cheeks. You will know that your toothache, in this instance, is not part of any decay or other dental issues because the pain will be spread out over various teeth in the area just mentioned. And of course, you will be suffering from sinus problems like mucous discharges and pain around the nasal cavity and upper portion of the face.

Beware of Cough Medicine
Once a cold has struck, most people go to their local pharmacy and grab a bottle of cough medicine. That, however, should be the last resort, at least when the teeth are concerned. Cough medicine (syrup), as well as cough lozenges (drops), contain sugars and alcohol, which are detrimental to your teeth and cause several oral health issues. Some of the main tooth problems caused by alcohol and sugar include the following:

• Alcohol: Bad Breath, Erosion of Tooth Enamel & Tooth Stains
Sugar: Cavities- sugar causes mouth bacteria to eat the sugar that has formed on the teeth, which causes acid to form on them ultimately eating away at the enamel and eventually causing full-blown tooth decay.

How To Save Your Teeth During a Cold

Once you have a cold you have it and should do something about it. Just don’t head over to your local pharmacy and grab a bottle of cough syrup just yet. There are many other ways to treat the symptoms of the common cold as mentioned above. They include the following:
• Nasal Decongestant: Will reduce dry mouth as the nasal passage opens up.
Water & Juice: Helps keep mouth hydrated.
Humidifier: Adds moisture to the atmosphere which can alleviate some of the symptoms of nasal congestion.
• Cough Drops: Only the ones without sugar and alcohol (if available in your area). They help produce saliva within the mouth, keeping a healthy bacteria balance around the teeth and gums.
Saline Nose Spray: Reduces symptoms of sinusitis.
Hot Shower: Helps to open up the nasal passage.
• Antibiotics: The last resort for sinusitis and its symptoms are antibiotics. If your sinuses and upper teeth have not healed within a week, go see the doctor, who will most likely prescribe some form of antibiotics. Often times, sinusitis leaves of its own accord but if it doesn’t don’t rule this option out.
• Chicken Soup: The natural cold cure. You will need some form of nutrition during your cold and there is nothing more comforting and sustaining than a hot bowl of chicken soup.

Go To The Dentist
Just because you have a cold, does not mean you have to lose your beautiful smile. Our staff at the Upper Hunt Dental Centre in South Ottawa are both knowledgeable and caring and can help you solve any dental issues you may be facing, including those caused by severe colds and other infections affecting your teeth and gums. Contact us today to book an appointment!

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