Glendale Dentist Explains How Illness Can Affect Your Smile And Oral Health

Written by Dr. McKay on Oct 8, 2019

When you don’t feel great in general, your smile can suffer as well. Unfortunately, in many cases, an insufficient oral hygiene routine can actually make it more difficult for you to recover. This article from our Glendale dentists, we’ll walk you through some of the ways that illness can affect your smile—let’s get started!

Dry Mouth

It is very common for patients to become dehydrated when they are ill, especially if they are vomiting or sleeping for long stretches of time. Dry mouth is also an oft-experienced side effect of many medications. If you are dealing with dry mouth, this means that your body is not producing enough saliva to create a healthy oral environment. Saliva is critical for neutralizing bacteria, as well as re-mineralizing dental enamel.


As we have already discussed, vomiting dehydrates your body. However, it also exposes your teeth to higher-than-normal levels of stomach acid. When your enamel comes into contact with acids, it becomes temporarily weaker, and more susceptible to damage or infection. For this reason, it is very important that you wait at least 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure to brush your teeth; you don’t want to inadvertently buff away protective enamel.

Post-Nasal Drip

Your sinuses are connected directly to your throat and mouth. So, if you have a build-up of mucus due to illness, you will likely notice that some of it migrates to the back of your throat—this is called post-nasal drip. You may notice that your breath feels and smells stale, and that your throat is sore as a result.

Even the most fastidious dental patients may need a little extra help caring for their smiles when they’re sick. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Glendale dentists!