Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Healthy Tips to Keep the Cold and Flu Season from Getting the Best of You

As a dental benefits provider, our focus is on oral hygiene and how you can achieve healthier outcomes by practicing better dental and oral habits. People always seem amazed at how their oral care factors into their overall health. This is especially true during cold and flu season. Our mouths are huge purveyors of contagious diseases, germs, and viral and bacterial infections.

Whether you do or do not get an influenza vaccine this year, you can still help ward off germs, viruses and bacteria and the flu by practicing and endorsing a few simple practices in your home and around the office.

Sniffling, sneezing, coughs and fevers are big signs of viral and bacterial infection. Wherever these symptoms exist, germs are present. The healthiest response to the coughing, sneezing, sniffling and signs of a fever are to: avoid close contact with others, wash your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to, maintain good oral hygiene, and brush your teeth more often to keep your mouth clean.

In addition, there are other factors that can help you avoid contracting or spreading germs and infection, like:

• Wash your hands before and after brushing your teeth.
• Protect your toothbrush an keep it away from others and off common surfaces.
• Rinse your toothbrush with hydrogen peroxide, weekly, then rinse and air dry before use.
• Allow the brush to air dry after each use, since the bacteria most harmful will die when exposed to oxygen.
• Store your toothbrush in an upright position.
• Replace your toothbrush more often, like every 1-2 months, depending on whether bristles appear worn or you've if you have had a cold or flu to prevent possible re-infection.
• Clean the toothbrush cover or container to kill harmful bacteria and the spread of infection that reside in the bristles.

Here are some things to avoid:

• Do not share your toothbrush, because the exchange of saliva and oral fluids from can increase the risk for infections.
• Be aware of things that can lead to cross-contamination.
• Do not use community toothbrush holders. If you do, then rinse your brushes with hot water and make sure the toothbrushes do not come in contact with one another.
• When you brush, do not allow the toothbrush to touch the toothpaste tube and spread germs to the next user.

Every year the health risks and viruses tend to get worse, not better. You can make a big difference in your general health by taking care of your oral health, first.
Keep these tips in mind and practice them to avoid the spread of infection, influenza and bacteria.

Our team at American Dental Plan cares about you and your health. To learn more about our dental programs and benefits, visit:

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