Your Guide To Orthodontics When You’re Sick

Have you ever gone to bed feeling not so great, thinking all you need is some water and sleep, and you’ll wake up good as new, only to have a sore throat, headache, and cough when you woke up? If this happens to you as an orthodontic patient, one of your first thoughts might be, “How do I get healthy without disrupting my orthodontic care?”

At Buttram Orthodontics, we want your treatment journey to be comfortable, safe, and effective, no matter the circumstances. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of tips to help ease the discomfort and get you feeling your best as soon as possible!

Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene!

When you’re sick, getting out of bed to brush your teeth might not be high on the priority list. Flossing might not even be on the list at all! However, it is crucial to continue to take care of your oral hygiene even when you don’t feel good. Maintaining your routine helps rid the mouth of any bacteria or germs that could potentially prolong your illness or spread it to others!

Okay, we know this next tip will be a little gross, but bear with us because this information is important! Do not brush your teeth immediately after throwing up! When you throw up, your body pushes stomach acid and other stuff out of the body through your mouth. This acid and residue line the inside of your mouth after vomiting. If you brush your teeth too soon, you will be moving that harsh acid around and helping it reach parts of your mouth it otherwise would not have touched. It also scrubs it into your teeth, which could damage them. 

Instead of brushing, rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix to disinfect and freshen up. You don’t want to brush your teeth until at least 30 minutes after you last threw up!

Pain Management For Comfort!

Pain management might be necessary for comfort and health if you just put in a new set of aligners, got your braces tightened, or have body aches from your illness. Being comfortable when you’re sick not only makes it less miserable, but it also means you’ll be more likely to upkeep your oral hygiene, eat, and sleep, just some of the critical tasks of getting better!

If you are feeling pain, swelling, or irritation in your mouth, gargle some salt water. It might not taste great, but it soothes the mouth by reducing swelling and clears any bacteria that can keep you sick or result in infections. Puffy or painful gums can make eating difficult or wearing your Invisalign trays unpleasant, so you want to reduce it as much as possible.  

Patients with braces might feel more irritation than usual, maybe from cold sores (caused by stress or sickness) or swelling. Discomfort from brackets can be extra annoying when you’re sick, but easy to fix! Consider asking your orthodontist about wax! The wax sits on top of your brackets and protects your mouth from the metal rubbing against it. Now you can sleep, eat, and watch your comfort shows in peace.

If you are still experiencing severe pain when you feel better, make an appointment with our office so we can make sure everything is alright.

Remember: Before taking any medications to deal with the pain, ask your doctor if they are right for you or your needs.

Try To Eat And Drink!

Many illnesses or diseases reduce appetites or cause vomiting, or maybe both! It can be hard to even just think about consuming anything! Even still, it’s essential to drink and eat sufficiently. 

Fluids are crucial when you’re sick. Staying hydrated helps your body’s muscles and organs function as designed to get you feeling good as new in no time! Water also rinses the mouth of germs and bacteria and prevents dry mouth, a condition which can make it hard to eat!

You want to ensure you get the proper nutrients so you can feel better faster! If your teeth or gums are sensitive, avoid crunchy or tough foods because they can add to your discomfort. Instead, try soft foods like bananas or soup.  

Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops!

We have probably all sat in bed with a meal tray that contained a bowl of tomato soup as the entree and a bag of delicious cherry or honey cough drops as the side. But did you know that some cough drops contain as much sugar as candy? It’s true!

That sugar, especially if you don’t maintain your oral hygiene, can eat away at your teeth and create cavities! We don’t want to discourage you from soothing your sore throat or stopping a painful cough, but we strongly recommend using sugar-free cough drops!

When consuming hard cough drops, whether sugar-free or not, patients with fixed orthodontic appliances need to be careful! Biting down on them could break or damage your equipment and lead to pain! The last thing you want when you’re sick is an orthodontic emergency, so consume with caution!

Replace Your Tools!

Once you feel better, you need a new toothbrush (or toothbrush head) and tip for your water flosser. Germs and bacteria are still lingering on those devices even after your body flushes out the illness or infection. To keep from getting sick again, replace any tools you used when you were under the weather. 

Bonus Tip: If you have a contagious illness, keep your oral hygiene tools away from others in the bathroom. You don’t want to pass your sickness along to someone else!

Your Guide To Orthodontics When You're Sick

Have More Questions? Buttram Orthodontics Has The Answers!

At Buttram Orthodontics, we understand how uncomfortable it is to be sick. We also realize being sick as an orthodontic patient might be an entirely new issue to tackle for some patients and their families!
We are always here to answer any questions or provide guidance on how to keep your treatment on track when you’re sick. Don’t hesitate to contact us to speak to a passionate and dedicated team member or to make an appointment with Dr. Buttram! We look forward to seeing you soon and providing the outstanding, personalized care we are known for.