Orthodontist-approved tips for cold & flu season

Winter weather can be brutal, bringing cold and flu season to schools and workplaces. If you are feeling sick and have braces or aligners, be careful! There are several things you should consider so you can avoid bacteria buildup and slowed treatment. Here are our top orthodontist-approved tips to help you get some pep back in your step:

  • Drink up: Fluids always help you feel better when you are ill. But water is even more essential if you have braces or clear aligners. Colds and stuffy noses can lead to mouth breathing, which dries out your mouth and leads to more bacteria building up. Flush away that bacteria with proper hydration!
  • Don’t skip brushing: It is tempting to skip some oral hygiene habits when you feel sick. But you still need to keep up with your smile routine, whether it be wearing your retainer, brushing, or flossing. Believe us—a clean smile will make you feel much better, even if you are tired!
  • Saltwater gargling: Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. The salt can help reduce inflammation or ease sore throats while the water rinses away bacteria. As a bonus, gargling with saltwater is a great option for new braces or post-adjustment soreness!
  • Toss the toothbrush: Once you’ve been sick, throw away your toothbrush! Bacteria can linger, leading to slower recovery or even reinfection after you’ve begun to feel better.
  • Choose sugar-free: Did you know that cough drops and cough syrups can be loaded with sugar? Be sure to choose a sugar-free option and brush and floss after taking any to minimize staining or plaque buildup. As always, remember to avoid biting down on your cough drop—you wouldn’t want to feel sick and have a broken bracket!
  • Look closely at medications: Some medications (like ibuprofen) reduce inflammation throughout your body. These may impact your orthodontic treatment, so ask us if you are unsure which medications are best to take.

Stay healthy all season

This cold and flu season, take care of yourself and your smile! If you feel less than great, we hope you have a fast recovery. If you have any questions about navigating sickness with braces, contact our Petty & Bielik Orthodontics team. Book a free orthodontic consultation in Oak Lawn, IL, today!