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Does the Flu Affect My Dental Health?

Winter is almost here, which means cold and flu season is in full swing! While fighting off a cold or the flu, you may have a cough, runny nose, fever, or even vomiting, so taking care of your teeth is probably the last thing on your mind. 

But you may not know that having a cold or the flu can affect your dental health! Find out from your family dentist what you can do to keep your teeth safe while you’re sick!

How Does a Cold or the Flu Impact My Oral Health?

Cold and flu season puts your dental health at risk in multiple ways.

Dry Mouth

When you have a stuffy nose, you obviously tend to breathe through your mouth. But mouth-breathing can make your mouth especially dry, and a dry mouth can cause pain, difficulty swallowing, and infections. It can also cause tooth decay and gum disease, which are not things you want to deal with when you’re feeling better. 


If you have a cold or flu, it can increase the pressure on your sinuses. Since your sinuses are close to your upper back teeth, that pressure can make you feel like you have a toothache. If the tooth pain isn’t localized on one specific tooth, it’s probably part of your illness. While this isn’t fun, it will usually clear up on its own with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter cold or flu medication.     


You may experience some sensitivity in your mouth when you’re sick, whether it’s your gums, teeth, or taste buds. This sensitivity can be uncomfortable, but don’t let it stop you from staying hydrated and eating some warm soup! Just adjust as needed — if you’re noticing sensitivity to hot fluids, let it cool before eating or drinking it, and vice versa. 

Swollen Gums

If you have a fever, your gums may be swollen as well. Swelling is considered normal while you’re feeling sick but should clear up on its own when you’re feeling better. Swollen gums are also more prone to gingivitis, so keep brushing and flossing your teeth to fight off infections or diseases.

Can Cold and Flu Medication Affect My Dental Health?

While medication is extremely helpful in getting you back on your feet, it can also damage your teeth. A lot of over-the-counter medications are high in sugar, and if you don’t brush your teeth or rinse them off, the sugar can build up as plaque. Remember, you should always discuss medications with your doctor before taking them.

Some antibiotics can discolor teeth, especially in younger children. It can also throw off the Ph balance in your mouth, causing thrush, a fungal infection. 

If you’re looking for something more natural, orange juice may be an excellent way to boost your body’s immune system. But if you don’t get the citric acid off your teeth, it can break down enamel.

7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Safe While You’re Sick!

When you’re laying in bed trying to rest, your dental health is at risk, but you can use these methods to keep your teeth healthy!

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Suck on sugar-free cough drops
  3. Run a humidifier
  4. Brush and floss every day
  5. Use an antibacterial mouth rinse
  6. Don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting
  7. Rinse your mouth after taking medicine

After the Cold or Flu, Get Your Teeth Checked and Cleaned at WhiteWing Dental!

Having the flu and dental health issues isn’t a fun combination, so rest up and feel better soon! And if you’re feeling better but still have swelling in your gums, or your toothache hasn’t gone away, you may need to visit your McAllen dentist. From deep cleanings to antibiotics, your experienced WhiteWing Dental team can help! 

Don’t let the flu or cold destroy your shiny smile! Reach out today to schedule an appointment with WhiteWing Dental!

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