As cold and flu season comes around, many of us take precautions for keeping healthy. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy during the season as well.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking lots of liquids is important when you’re sick because your body needs extra fluids to fight off infections. A stuffy nose or a sore throat can also lead to dry mouth, and since saliva helps control the bacteria that causes cavities, you’re more at risk for cavities and gum disease when you’re sick. So remember to sip your way to health with plenty of water, juice, soup or tea .

Brush Your Teeth

Like washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and sneezing into a tissue, teeth brushing is another way to avoid harmful bacteria. Even when you’re feeling ill, it’s still important to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day.

Replace Your Used Toothbrush

Flu viruses can live on moist surfaces for up to 72 hours. Allow your toothbrush to air dry, head up and give it plenty of air circulation—don’t store it in a medicine cabinet or a travel-type case that encloses the head.

After an illness, avoid putting the same bacteria back in your mouth. And since you should replace brushes every three to four months, you’re probably due for a new brush anyway. When in doubt, throw it out!

Gargle with Salt Water

Gargling salt water can help relieve and prevent infection. It may also help reduce symptoms of other issues affecting the respiratory system, such as allergies. Salt water gargles are a simple, safe, and affordable home remedy

Choose Sugar-Free Medicine

Many brands of cough drops contain sugar, which can have the same results as sucking on hard candies. The more cough drops you use, the longer cavity-causing bacteria can grow on your teeth. If you can, opt for sugar-free.