Your Guide To Orthodontics When You’re Sick

At Icon Orthodontics, we know being sick can be an unpleasant inconvenience! Being sick as an orthodontic patient can be confusing and intimidating! You might wonder, “How can I help myself get better without slowing down my orthodontic treatment?” Luckily, there are a few things that you can do! 

Let’s take a look.

Continue your oral hygiene!

When you’re sick, brushing and flossing your teeth might fall to the bottom of the priority list. You might spend a lot of time Googling the questions, “How much of a medicine is too much?” and “What temperature is a fever?” as you try to figure out if you can come to work today.

We don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but even if you don’t feel good, you still need to do your oral hygiene routine! Brushing and flossing remove bacteria and plaque that cause gum disease, bad breath, tooth decay, and other complications. When you’re sick, this regimen can rid the mouth of bacteria and germs that could either keep you ill or produce a new infection.

The only reason you should not brush your teeth is when you’ll probably want to the most — right after throwing up! When you throw up, your stomach acid lines your mouth, and when you brush your teeth, you push that harsh acid around your mouth and potentially erode your enamel. Wait at least thirty minutes after your last vomit to brush your teeth to prevent this! It’s necessary to disinfect your mouth between throw-up sessions but ignore your toothbrush and instead rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a mix of baking soda and water.

Wearers of removable orthodontic appliances should continue to wear their devices but clean them more frequently. The only time you don’t want to wear them like normal is if you are throwing up.

Pain management methods.

When you’re sick, discomfort can be from tightening your braces, wearing a new aligner, or just be a symptom of your illness. No matter the cause, relieving pain can be essential to a quick recovery. When you are uncomfortable, you are less likely to wear your removable equipment (if applicable), perform your oral hygiene routine, eat, or sleep properly — all things that are crucial to feeling better!

If your mouth is swollen or sore, try applying an ice pack to the outside of the mouth for ten minutes. Another option is to gargle salt water. While it might not taste great, salt water reduces swelling and irritation and disinfects the mouth.

If your metal equipment is causing pain by rubbing against or pinching your cheek, ask Dr. Sarpotdar or Dr. Sun about orthodontic wax! The wax sits on top of your brackets or wire and acts as a shield for your cheek so you can sleep or watch TV peacefully.

If you want to try a medication for pain relief, consult your orthodontist, pharmacist, or doctor before taking anything.

Eat and Drink, please!

We know that getting enough nutrients when you’re sick can be challenging, but you need to continue to eat and drink if you can! 

If you find it difficult to eat, either from pain or stomach issues, try sticking to soft foods like bananas, apple sauce, or soups. 

Hydration is so important when you’re ill! Water helps heal muscle soreness and allows your organs to function correctly to get you back on your feet in no time! Drinking water also helps prevent dry mouth, an uncomfortable condition that can make eating strenuous and cause other issues for your teeth and gums. 

You’ll need the strength and energy supplied by food and water during and after your sickness, so eat and drink up!

Is That Candy? No, It’s A Cough Drop!

With all the wonderful flavors of cough drops, it’s easy to pop them in your mouth, one after another, while watching movies on your sick day. But did you know that most cough drops have as much sugar in them as candy? That sugar can erode the enamel of your teeth and lead to cavities, especially if you are unable to maintain your oral hygiene while sick. To protect your teeth, we strongly encourage you to choose sugar-free drops!

Bonus Tips: 

  • Patients with clear aligners or clear braces might want to use the clear drops. The dye in the other cough drops can stain their trays and make them more visible!
  • Patients with fixed orthodontic appliances like InBraces, Damon Metal braces, clear braces, or metal retainers should be careful when munching on cough drops. Hard candies and foods can break your appliances. The last thing you need or want when you’re sick is a painful orthodontic emergency!

Replace Your Oral Hygiene Tools!

After you feel better, you should get a new toothbrush head and tip for your water flosser. These tools can hoard germs and bacteria that make you sick all over again. We don’t want that! Replace your equipment so you can stay well!

If you share a bathroom, store your tools away from others’ tools until you replace them. You don’t want to spread your sickness to others!

Your Guide To Orthodontics When You're Sick

Icon Orthodontics Is Here For You!

At Icon Orthodontics, we understand that being unwell as an orthodontic patient is an uncharted territory for many patients. Our mission is to give every patient a safe, comfortable, and effective orthodontic journey, with a little fun along the way. Our dedicated and experienced team is here for you and is ready to help you overcome any obstacle in the way of your dream smile.

If you have any questions about treatment, need personalized guidance, or want to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations, please reach out to us! We look forward to hearing from you soon!