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The Best Dental Practices During Flu Season

This year’s flu virus is known as h3n2, and the Centers for Disease Control says the flu activity has nearly tripled in the last month in a number of states. In South Florida, many people have been feeling the symptoms, and this year the flu seems to be rapidly spreading, with flu season far from over.

In the United States, it is estimated that up to 40% of the population will become ill from influenza each year, and about 36,000 people per year die from it. Even healthy people can be at risk and those at any age, although adults over 65 years of age, and young children, along with those with chronic medical conditions are at greatest risk. Typically, influenza activity peaks between December and February.

The flu virus can be easily spread from sneezing, coughing, and even talking. However, what many may not know is that the virus can live for up to 72 hours on many surfaces, especially if there’s moisture, and it can be spread in this way.

It is equally important to exercise precautions when trying to reduce the risk of becoming ill with the flu, and also to prevent its spread. A toothbrush is a damp surface that can easily harbor the virus, so it’s important to never share it anytime. Additionally, it’s vital to get plenty of sleep and to wash hands frequently.

When battling a sore throat or cough, always choose sugar free lozenges or cough drops. Lozenges and drops are typically held in the mouth for extended and often repeated periods of time, and ones that contain sugar can feed bacteria in the mouth, producing acid that can result in cavities.

Another dental issue can be caused by vomiting. Vomit contains acid from the stomach, which can be damaging. However, brushing the teeth directly afterward can cause further damage to teeth. A better solution is to rinse the mouth with a mixture water and baking soda to reduce the acidity. A little mouthwash can be added to water to help remove any bad taste or odor and swished. Lastly, we recommend changing your toothbrush once the virus has passed.

If would like more information about how to help reduce your risk, prevent its spread, or care while you’re ill, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.