How To Get Healthy and Stay Healthy This Flu Season
We may be dreaming of warmer weather and sandy beaches, but winter is lingering and flu season is still going strong. Give your teeth some extra attention and follow these tips and tricks to help you get healthy and stay healthy!

    1. As the Center for Disease Control suggests, avoid exposing others to your illness. If an orthodontic patient is too sick to go to work or school, they are too sick to be seen in at the orthodontist. Working on a sick patient exposes other patients, the doctors, and team members as well as our reception area all to illness and can worsen the illness (the mouth is a germ-filled place!) for the patient too. For the health and safety of everyone, we request you reschedule the appointment if ill. If a patient is observed in our office to have symptoms of communicable illness, we will reschedule.


    1. Drink plenty of water and clear fluids to help prevent dry mouth and dehydration. According to the American Dental Association, medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, or pain relievers can reduce saliva production. Water is the best beverage to drink when you’re sick (or well!), as sports drinks can be high in added sugar. Warm tea and clear broth will also help to soothe a sore throat and provide relief for an upset stomach.


    1. At the Drugstore, grab a bag of sugar-free cough drops or lozenges without fructose or corn syrup. Like hard candy, many cough drops have added sweeteners that can cause cavities. Also, try drinking warm tea without adding sugar to help keep tooth decay at bay. Avoid biting or chewing on cough drops, as they can break brackets or crack your aligners and even your teeth.


    1. Wash your hands with soap before putting them in your mouth to remove your retainers or aligners. Germs are spread when you touch something contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth! Stay germ-free by taking extra care to stop contamination.


    1. Some strains of the stomach flu can cause vomiting. Swish your mouth with water or diluted mouthwash after vomiting, but try to wait at least 30 minutes after vomiting before you brush your teeth. Rinsing and spitting will expel any stomach acid from your mouth, instead of brushing that acid into your enamel.


    1. If you have Invisalign aligners or acrylic retainers, they can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Aligners can also be sanitized with Hydrogen Peroxide and rinsed with water. Avoid using hot water to clean your aligners or retainers, as that can melt or distort them.


    1. Do not share your toothbrush! This is true especially if your family member or friend is showing signs of flu or illness. Bacteria and viruses can live up to several days on the brush and are highly contagious. Once you are no longer sick, throw out your toothbrush and replace it with a new one. Regardless of illness, toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months.


From all of us at Graber Orthodontics, stay healthy – spring is just around the corner!