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Dental Distancing

September 17th, 2020

With all that we have learned and are learning about COVID-19, health and wellness, it is important to practice proper hygiene protocols to protect yourself and the ones you love from getting sick. Not everyone who is sick shows signs or symptoms right away, so to protect yourself and family members. Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Buffalo Grove’s Forever Smiles Orthodontics for Children and Adults has a few dental distancing tips to help keep your family healthy.

Wash your hands before brushing or flossing

Dr. Razdolsky reminds patients they should never touch their mouth, brush their teeth or floss before thoroughly washing their hands. His recommendation is to follow the CDC rule of 20 seconds with soap and water. And, if someone in your household is sick, he suggests adding a hand sanitizer made with 60% alcohol for added safety. Don’t forget to wash again after brushing and flossing to help prevent the spread of your germs to others.

Social distance your toothbrush

Whether you think you are sick or have been exposed to others of whom you are not sure, isolating your toothbrush is an easy way to protect family members.

“It is best to avoid side by side storage of your family’s toothbrushes to help protect others in your household,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Social distance your toothbrush instead. Store it upright in a holder or cup, and place in a separate area away from others.”

Don’t contaminate the toothpaste

Dr. Razdolsky also reminds us to look beyond the toothbrush when protecting others. If your family shares a tube of toothpaste for example, be sure you don’t allow the tip to come in contact with your toothbrush.

“While we talk of social distancing and cleaning your toothbrush, touching the toothpaste tube to the bristles can unintentionally contaminate and share harmful germs,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This is especially important if someone in your household is actually sick. In that case your family can take extra precautions to prevent contamination by applying the toothpaste to a clean cotton swab and then on the brush,” he added.

Clean your tools

“Many people do not realize that flu viruses can survive on toothbrushes and other surfaces for up to three days after first exposure,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “That is why we suggest patients clean brush handles, orthodontic instruments and wipe down counter areas after they brush. This is an easy way to help protect themselves and other family members from spreading germs, by simply using a household disinfectant, 70% alcohol or diluted bleach solution,” he added.

Do a toothbrush check when you’ve been sick

Although Dr. Razdolsky shared with us that flu viruses can survive on toothbrushes some time, you are not likely at risk of getting sick again if you use the same toothbrush. Especially since they are your own germs. But you should be sure to keep your dental distance from others in your family to keep them safe. Now with that said… evaluating replacing your toothbrush (or the head if you use an electric one) when you’ve been sick is still a good practice.

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months (sooner if the bristles look worn out). Although you will not make yourself sick again, you can use this time as an opportunity to do a toothbrush check and replace your brush if it looks like it might be time.

Hydrate and brush to get and stay healthy

When you are sick, you need plenty of fluids and nothing beats water. Medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers can make you dehydrated. Water prevents dry mouth which can put you at higher risk for cavities. So, drink plenty of water and use sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges to keep you mouth from getting dry.

“One of the best feelings when I am sick is simply brushing my teeth,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “A clean mouth and fresh breath give me a sense of wellbeing and I actually start to feel better. It is always important to take care of your Forever Smile, especially when you are sick.”

Oral Systemic Health & COVID-19

August 25th, 2020

With all that has been and is being learned about SARS-Cov2 during the pandemic, there is a marked shift in what we think and do in taking charge of our health. Dr. Razdolsky has always advocated for the study and support of oral health to overall systemic health, and with the latest interest in how nutrition impacts related underlying health condition risk to COVID-19 case severity, could there be a correlation to oral health as well? Recent research suggests, yes. There could be a link between gum disease and COVID-19.

While not everyone with gum disease has heart disease or vice versa, historically there does seem to be a correlation. Although research is not clear whether gum disease is a direct risk factor for heart disease, it has been suggested there is link between the two. Some believe pathogens can cause cascading damage to other tissues and organs, or even the bacteria in the gums may itself enter the blood supply where it can further cause inflammation and damage. In fact, one study published earlier this month suggests a link between gum disease and respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients! With such tragic consequences, it is theories like these that have compelled researchers to further study how diet, oral health and systemic health can provide insight not only into COVID-19, but other diseases as well. Imagine what we can learn about not only this virus, but how we as human beings may react to future unknown threats.

“We already know that good oral hygiene along with eating a diet of nutrient rich foods promotes healthy teeth and gums, as well as provides our bodies with the right fuel to stay healthy and strong,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “It has become increasingly apparent how important it is for us to look at these same factors in relationship to how they keep us healthy and fight disease for life.”

It is estimated that obesity attributed to bad nutrition affects about 35% of U.S. adults, with a disproportionate number of those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale. This becomes increasingly evident as cases of the COVID-19 virus are recorded in population groups with these related demographics and underlying health conditions. Studies have indicated Americans are among the least healthy population in the developed world. According to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index published February 2019, the United States ranked 35th out of 169 economies in factors that contribute to overall health. Most can agree we choose processed food over farm-fresh, and packaged or prepared food over cooking it ourselves. It is almost assured a shift to healthier, more balanced meals with fresh ingredients, vegetables and fruit would benefit our society by helping to lower obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes which has become an ever-growing trend.

Sadly, many of us have picked up more than one bad habit during COVID-19. Stress eating, a change to comfort foods rather than nutritious balanced meal planning, increased junk food consumption or even boredom eating. We are all a little guilty, right? Working toward healthier eating has always been a challenge, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking scientifically and introspectively at our at-risk populations with high levels of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Smart snacking is a great way to keep your oral health on track, so you should choose wisely. Forgo the sweet sugary snacks, especially hard or sticky candy if you wear braces.” said Dr. Razdolsky.

Dr. Razdolsky suggests that instead of junk snacking we should opt for nutritious choices like fresh vegetables, yogurt, and if you have a sweet tooth, some fresh fruit. This benefits not only your oral health but is a much better option for your overall health.

“Let me also remind everyone it is important to brush after snacking to protect your smile,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This protects your teeth and gums from plaque which can lead to gum disease impacting your long-term oral health. If you can’t brush at minimum rinse your mouth and between your teeth to remove food particles until you can get to brush,” he added.

Maybe in this post-COVID society, our wellness habits will change for the better. Perhaps we will finally begin to recognize how we must educate ourselves and our children to address the necessary changes that positively impact the health and well-being of our society in the long run. All of these things are tied together. A smile, is not just a smile and our health is not something we should take for granted. COVID-19 was not something any of us expected, but we must learn and adapt. You know… just in case.

Safeguarding Your Family & Your Smile

July 16th, 2020

First and foremost, if we’re open it is because we feel it’s safe for you to come in. So here are five important things to keep in mind as we approach the upcoming school year.

  1. Your oral health is representative of your overall systemic health. Now isn’t a time for compromise as it impacts your long-term health. Dr. Razdolsky routinely places appliances such as springs, coils and memory wires that apply continuous force to the teeth and jaws. For this reason, it is important for us to physically monitor your progress regularly to make necessary adjustments.

What’s more, leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems. To help avoid tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wearing of tooth enamel and difficulty chewing, it is important to keep up with regularly scheduled appointments.

  1. Your Forever Smiles team is taking more precautions than ever to ensure your safety and that of our fellow team members.

In addition to wearing the proper PPE, practicing physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting more than ever before, we are also asking screening and triage questions, as well as checking temperatures.

  1. Forever Smiles’ #1 priority is our patients’ health. If we are open, it is because we feel it’s safe for you to come in.

Our mission is to keep everyone safe, patients and team members, while continuing to provide quality orthodontic care. If we are open, rest assured that we have infection control precautions and changes in place that are designed for your protection and that of our team members.

  1. Dentists and orthodontic specialists like Dr. Razdolsky have always been leaders in infection control and preventing the spread of diseases.

As oral health professionals, we must stay at the forefront in safely practicing with blood borne pathogens and respiratory pathogens. We are taking all the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and implementing them in our offices.

  1. As oral health professionals, your Forever Smiles team always stays on top of the latest safety protocols.

Through our participation in continuing education programs we educate ourselves on the latest safety and infection control protocols to ensure they align with the CDC and any other state and local guidelines. After all, our number one priority is to deliver orthodontic care in a safe environment for all our patients and their families.

Be vigilant, be safe

July 1st, 2020

With the scare that is Covid-19, people all over the world are looking for ways to protect themselves and their families from undue harm. From here forward, most if not all of us will likely question the safety of where our products come from and the services that we receive. No one person, no business is immune to the reverberating effects of what this Pandemic has created in the public trust.

With this forage into the unknown we are left with opportunity -- the prospect for development of new technologies and advancements to the betterment of the health and well-being of our society. There are also opportunities on which others will capitalize for only their own gain. However you view this uncertainty, the outcome is that some whether uninformed or out of fear, may make choices which do not serve their best interests.

We have often shared with you the importance of only seeking treatment with a qualified and licensed orthodontist. The correlation of clinical and histologic observation of tooth movement to the adjustment and tweaking of patient treatment protocols is simply something that cannot be established through clear aligners options offered online or by mail. It is something that can only be ensured through the ongoing treatment and observational care of a licensed orthodontist. Furthermore, there are more assurances than ever that you can continue to receive safe, effective in-office orthodontic treatment.

In January, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) announced that nine members of the U. S. House of Representatives authored a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to express their concerns regarding a certain “smile by mail” enterprise. Their intent, to ensure the group was not misleading consumers or putting them in harm’s way.

What’s the concern? In a July 2, 2019 statement the AAO said this in regard to direct-to-consumer orthodontics. “…orthodontic aligners are meant to move teeth, which if not done correctly can lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues – some of which may not arise immediately.”

So if someone you know is looking into orthodontics and considering treatment by mail as a safe option to guard against Covid-19... tell them no way! As we’ve been saying, the health and well-being of our patients, family and friends is always our first priority. We are at the forefront. Through the introduction of technologies, new policies and continuing education we are always looking for new opportunities to bring you only the safest and best in care for a beautiful Forever Smile!

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