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 to feel 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 Guymon Orthodontics, we want your treatment journey to be comfortable, safe, and effective, no matter the circumstances. That’s why we’ve written down Dr. Guymon’s tips to help ease the discomfort and get you feeling your best as soon as possible!

Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene!

When you’re sick, you might find yourself spending a lot of time in bed asking the universe, “Why did I have to get sick the day of my big presentation/exam?” or “Why did I have to get sick on the only day of the week that’s sunny?” You’re probably not feeling very motivated to perform your oral hygiene routine if your mind is preoccupied with everything you could be missing.

However, it’s crucial that you don’t skip out on your routine even when you’re sick! Brushing and flossing remove bacteria and plaque from the mouth that causes bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss! If you’re sick, it also clears out germs and bacteria that could prolong your ailment!

If you wear a removable orthodontic appliance, you must continue to wear them (unless you are throwing up), and we strongly recommend cleaning them more frequently. 

If you are throwing up, it is necessary to disinfect and freshen up the mouth whenever possible. To do so, rinse the mouth with water, an antiseptic mouthwash, or a baking soda and water mix. 

No, we didn’t leave “brushing your teeth” off the list on accident — it was on purpose! When you throw up, your mouth becomes coated in stomach acid. Brushing your teeth pushes that acid around and scrubs it into the teeth, which could harm your enamel. It might feel and taste disgusting, but you want to wait at least thirty minutes after your last throw-up to brush your teeth!

A consistent routine and good practices keep your mouth healthy and your alignment on track, so try to be as diligent as ever!

Manage Any Pain!

Being sick is already unpleasant. Being in pain and ill is doubly so! Soreness can come from tightening your braces, a new aligner, or a symptom of your sickness! Alleviating it could be key to a quick recovery. If you are uncomfortable, you are less likely to wear your removable appliances (if applicable), perform your oral hygiene, eat, or sleep properly, all of which are critical for getting better and preserving your treatment schedule.

If your mouth is a source of irritation or swelling, try applying an ice pack to the outside of the mouth. Though it might not taste great, gargling salt water is another option to relieve tenderness and decrease swelling, with the bonus of ridding the mouth of germs.

If you want to try any pain medication or home remedies, please consult Dr. Guymon, your pharmacist, or your doctor! 

Hydrate and Eat!

We’ve already told you how water can help clean the mouth, but drinking plenty of (salt-free) water is also necessary when you’re under the weather. Staying sufficiently hydrated helps the body’s organs function correctly to kick your disease’s butt! Drinking water also prevents dry mouth, an uncomfortable condition that can make it hard to eat and harm the teeth. 

If you find it challenging to eat for whatever reason, try sticking to soft foods like bananas, apple sauce, or nutritious soups! You want to try to eat even if it’s difficult because you’ll need the energy and strength food supplies you with to recover.

Use Sugar-Free Coughs!

While we’re on the subject of aches and pains, cough drops are a fantastic way to soothe sore throats and ease a stubborn cough. But — did you know that cough drops have as much sugar in them as candy? That sugar can erode your enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and other threats. If you are unable to maintain your oral hygiene when you’re sick, you are more likely to develop cavities from your sugary cough drops! We encourage you to read the labels of your cough treatment and opt for the sugar-free choice instead.

Patients with clear aligners might want to get the clear cough drops because the dye can stain your trays! Patients with a fixed orthodontic appliance should be careful when eating the medication. Hard foods and candies can break your devices, and the last thing you want when you’re sick is a painful orthodontic emergency!

Replace Any Infected Hygiene Tools!

Once you feel better, we encourage you to swap out your toothbrush and water flosser tip for new ones. These tools can harbor germs and bacteria that could reinfect you, and we don’t want that! 

Bonus: If you share a bathroom, store your hygiene tools away from others’ tools to avoid spreading your sickness to them.

Let Guymon Orthodontics Guide You Through!

Our entire team at Guymon Orthodontics understands how being unwell is less than ideal and realizes that being sick as an orthodontic patient might be intimidating and confusing!

We are always here to answer any questions or provide guidance to keep your treatment on track when you’re sick. Our knowledgeable staff can help you overcome any obstacles on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations or speak to an experienced team member. 

We look forward to hearing from you soon!