Your Guide To Orthodontics When You’re Sick

Designer Smiles by Benton is a proud orthodontic provider to the Oxford and Pell City areas. No matter your form of active treatment (metal or clear braces, Boost, or Invisalign), our mission is to give every patient a safe, comfortable, and effective orthodontic journey.

We understand that being sick and an orthodontic patient simultaneously can be uncharted territory for many of our clients. That’s why we’ve created the following guide to alleviate some of the stress and get you feeling your best as soon as possible! 

Oral Hygiene is a Must!

It might not seem like your oral health is a priority when you’re ill, but it should be! Brushing and flossing are crucial to feeling comfortable while sick and getting better faster. Every day, they remove bacteria and plaque from the mouth that causes bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss, among other things. When unwell, these practices also rid the mouth of harmful germs that could prolong your illness!

Our next oral hygiene tip might be a little gross to some readers, but it’s important that we share it with you. If your illness is causing you to throw up, don’t brush your teeth right away! After you throw up, your mouth is covered with stomach acid. If you brush too soon, you will push that harsh acid around the mouth and scrub it into the teeth. The residue can erode your enamel — the protective covering on your teeth — and leave your teeth vulnerable to damage. 

We know the mouth tastes, smells, and feels unpleasant after throwing up (we’ve all been there!), but you should try not to brush for at least thirty minutes after your last vomit. Instead, disinfect or soothe discomfort by rinsing the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix. 

Remember: A consistent routine with beneficial habits keep the mouth healthy and your smile and treatment goals within reach!

Pain Management is Necessary for Recovery!

Tenderness can be caused by newly tightened braces, a new aligner, or by your sickness. If you are experiencing pain, finding a way to relieve it can be essential to a speedy recovery. When your mouth or body hurts, you are less likely to wear your removable appliances (if applicable), perform your oral hygiene, or eat and sleep properly, all of which are critical for recuperation and preserving your treatment schedule.

If you are suffering from pain, swelling, or irritation in your mouth, gargle some salt water. It soothes the mouth by reducing swelling and clears any bacteria that can keep you sick or produce infections. An ice pack applied to the outside of the mouth for ten minutes at a time can bring down swelling and ease soreness.

For patients with braces, wax on the brackets acts as a barrier to prevent the metal from rubbing or pinching the inside of the mouth. Aggravation caused by brackets can be extra annoying when you’re sick, but the wax can help you sleep and watch your comfort shows in peace. 

Before taking any medication or home remedies for pain, please consult our orthodontists — Dr. John Benton and Dr. Barry Benton — or your doctor.

Eat and Drink!

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. You are already at risk for dry mouth as an orthodontic patient, so keep your glass full of H2O!

Nutrition is necessary, even if eating feels impossible! If you find eating difficult, whether from pain or stomach issues, try soft foods like bananas or soup.

Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops!

While we’re on the subject of eating, let’s talk about cough drops! Did you know that most cough drops have as much sugar as candy? It’s true! The sugar in cough drops can eat at your teeth and cause cavities. Your risk of this is increased if you are unable to maintain your oral hygiene when you’re sick! We don’t want to discourage you from trying to soothe an aching throat or stop that stubborn cough, but we want to encourage you to get the sugar-free cough drops!

Patients with fixed orthodontic appliances like braces or retainers should be careful when consuming hard cough drops. Hard foods and candies can break your equipment and result in pain. The last thing you want when you’re unwell is an orthodontic emergency, so eat with caution!

Replace Your Tools!

Once you feel better, you should get new oral hygiene tools, like your toothbrush and the tip for your water flosser. These devices can hoard bacteria and germs on them even after your body has eliminated them. To prevent you from getting sick again, replace your tools!

Bonus Tip: If you share a bathroom, keep your items away from other people’s tools to avoid spreading your illness. 

Your Guide To Orthodontics When You're Sick

Have Questions? Designer Smiles by Benton Can Help! At Designer Smiles by Benton, we are passionate about transforming smiles and ensuring you get the best possible results! If you have any questions or would like personalized advice for your unique situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Our fantastic teams in both locations are happy to help!