Cary, NC – Fall is here and with the uncertainty of the pandemic combined with cold and flu season, it’s important to take precautions to remain as healthy as possible. While frequent handwashing, diet, and adequate sleep are essential to our overall health, good oral hygiene practices can help keep bacteria from spreading and your immune system healthy.

“A healthy lifestyle is key going into flu season especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Alec Parker, Executive Director of the North Carolina Dental Society. “It’s as important as ever to maintain a nutritious diet and optimal oral hygiene. Oral health is linked to overall health so remember to brush and floss daily to prevent bacteria buildup. Dental care is an essential part of routine preventative care.”

The North Carolina Dental Society shares three oral care tips to help you during cold and flu season:

1. Disinfect Toothbrushes: Toothbrushes can harvest bacteria. Remember to disinfect your toothbrushes between uses. Use hot water to rinse off the bristles or antibacterial mouthwash to keep your toothbrushes clean. Replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months, and discard if used while suffering from a cold or flu virus.

2. Drink Fluids. Water is the healthiest beverage for staying hydrated. It keeps your organs and body functioning properly, and your mouth clean. Drinking water helps strengthen the immune system and fight infection.

3. Use Mouth Rinse: Gargle and swish with water or a diluted mouth rinse to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

Stomach flu, and other illnesses can cause vomiting and stomach acids can often come in contact with your teeth. And, after vomiting, be sure to use a mouth rinse before brushing to avoid rubbing the acid all over your teeth.