Your Guide To Orthodontics When You’re Sick

It’s never a good time to be sick, is it? Waking up with a sore throat and a fever can leave you in bed for the rest of the day, saying, “No, no! Not today!” 

At Hidden Smiles Orthodontics, we understand that being unwell as an orthodontic patient is an uncharted territory for many of our patients. No matter your form of active treatment, our mission is to give every patient a safe, comfortable, and effective orthodontic journey to uncover their hidden dream smile! That’s why we put together this guide of tips and tricks to help you keep your treatment plan on track while also getting better! 

Oral Hygiene Can’t Be Skipped!

Feeling “out of sorts” lowers your motivation for most things except getting better, and your oral hygiene is at risk of falling by the wayside. However, our encouragement of proper oral hygiene is still there when you’re unwell. Brushing and flossing are crucial to removing bacteria and plaque that cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease, among other things. When you’re sick, those practices remove germs and bacteria that could prolong your illness!

If you are throwing up, don’t reach for your toothbrush! When you vomit, your mouth becomes lined with stomach acid, and brushing can spread that harsh residue around your mouth. You also risk scrubbing it into your teeth and eroding your enamel. Instead of brushing, rinse your mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix. You want to avoid brushing your teeth for at least thirty minutes after your last throw-up.

Users of removable appliances should continue to wear their devices and clean them frequently. You should remove them if you are throwing up.

Pain Management Is Necessary!

Pain management is key to a speedy recovery. Pain could be caused by tightening the braces, wearing a new aligner, or being a symptom of your illness. When you feel unwell, you’re less likely to perform your oral hygiene routine, wear your removable appliances (if applicable), eat, or sleep properly, all of which are critical for a speedy recovery and preserving your treatment program.

An ice pack applied to the outside of the mouth and gargling salt water can reduce swelling and soothe irritation. Salt water also clears the mouth of bacteria and germs that can keep you sick or create new infections.

If your braces are rubbing against your mouth and aggravating you, ask Dr. Parikh about orthodontic wax! The wax sits on top of your brackets, protecting your cheek from pinching and aggravation. Your braces hurting can be extra annoying when you’re under the weather, but orthodontic wax can help you nap and watch your comfort shows in peace.

Before trying any medications or home remedies for pain, consult Dr. Parikh, your orthodontist, or your doctor! 

Drink And Eat!

Drinking and eating when you’re ill, especially when you’re throwing up, can be challenging, but consuming enough nutrients and fluids can be the difference between feeling better tomorrow or next week!

Sufficient hydration allows your body’s organs to function correctly to get you back on your feet in no time! Water flushes the mouth of germs and bacteria and also prevents dry mouth, an uncomfortable condition that can make it hard to eat. As an orthodontic patient, you are already at risk for dry mouth, so keep your glass full of delicious water!

Nutrition is a necessity, even if eating feels impossible! If you find eating difficult, whether from pain or stomach issues, try soft foods like bananas, apple sauce, or soup. You’ll need the strength and energy supplied by food during and after your sickness!

Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops!

Have you ever sat down with a bag of cough drops and devoured them like potato chips? When you feel bad enough, they can be the only thing that sounds appetizing! 

Cough drops are soothing for sore throats and can dampen a stubborn cough, but did you know that they have as much sugar as candy? Did you also know that sugar can eat away your enamel and cause tooth decay? If you cannot keep up your hygiene routine when you’re sick, you’re more susceptible to the harmful effects of sugar because it will sit on your teeth for longer. We strongly recommend you read the labels of the cough drops and opt for the sugar-free option!

Patients who wear clear aligners should also consider the clear cough drops, as the dye can stain the transparent trays and make them more visible. Those with fixed appliances should be careful when consuming every kind of cough drop. Hard candies and foods can break the metal in your mouth. The last thing you want when you don’t feel good is an orthodontic emergency!

Replace Your Oral Hygiene Tools!

Your toothbrush and the tip of your water flosser can have lingering germs and bacteria from your sickness! When you feel better, you should replace your oral hygiene tools to avoid getting sick again.

If you share a bathroom, store your tools away from others’ tools so that you don’t get them sick, too!

Your Guide To Orthodontics When You're Sick

Need More Guidance? Hidden Smiles Orthodontics Can Help!

We are proud and honored to be trusted to provide orthodontic care to members of the Huntington community and surrounding areas. With Dr. Parikh’s passion for continuing her education and sharing her knowledge with orthodontic students and her patients, you can be confident that you and your family are receiving up-to-date care and information.

If you have any questions about your treatment or need an appointment, please contact us today! Our dedicated staff is happy to assist! 

We look forward to hearing from you soon!