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Brush Off the Flu

We can all agree . . . there’s nothing worse than being sick around the holidays. Aches, pains, fevers and coughs can really put a damper on time with friends and family. While the dreaded flu bug lurks around 365 days per year, it tends to peak during December and February — right in the middle of our festive fun.You never know when the flu bug is going to bite, but you can take small steps to help ward it off. And, it all starts with good oral health.Brush and flossWe all know that brushing and flossing prevents cavities and gum disease, but did you know studies have shown that your oral health affects your overall health? Plaque build-up on teeth contains bacteria that can compromise your teeth and gums, which can make you more susceptible to the flu and other illnesses.Wash your handsYour mother has been telling you this for years, and she was right. Our mouth is a portal to the rest of our body, and germs love using it. The CDC recommends washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, making sure to scrub the backs, between fingers and under nails. Doing this before and after brushing will help keep those germs out of your mouth, and the rest of your body.Take care of that toothbrushGerms collect and spread via our toothbrush, so give it a good cleaning during flu season. Place it in microwave-safe container with water and bring it to a boil (about 3-4 minutes) or toss it in the dishwasher in the silverware rack. However, remember . . . that toothbrush doesn’t last forever. Be sure to replace it every three to four months.If the flu still gets you . . .

  • Keep your toothbrush away from others in the house — germs like to travel.
  • Get a new toothbrush when you’re done with your illness.
  • Brush often with a stomach flu. Stomach acid erodes tooth enamel and causes decay.
  • Choose sugar-free cough drops and syrups to help prevent damage to your teeth. And, fight the urge to bite on that really hard cough drop.
  • Drink plenty of water and help keep the saliva flowing. This will keep you hydrated, ease dry mouth and wash away plaque and food particles.
  • Sore throat? Gargle with salt water — it can help kill the germs causing it.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Associated Orthodontists has offices in Joliet, Plainfield, Morris, New Lenox, Frankfort and Bourbonnais, and offers complimentary orthodontic consultations and observation appointments at all locations. Our friendly Treatment Coordinators will verify your insurance and create a customized interest-free payment plan. To schedule your complimentary consultation, or to find the Associated Orthodontist location near you, please visit

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