You’re In Control of Your Dental Health

You’re In Control of Your Dental Health

The “doctor knows best” mentality has been a cornerstone of medicine and dentistry. But over the last decade, with the advent of the Internet, families are becoming more informed about their healthcare. Although I do, occasionally, get patients coming in and presenting me with some crazy ideas found on some less than reputable websites, people are, for the most part, benefiting from the resources out there, and I welcome more involvement of patients in the decision making process. After all, I only see a patient twice a year for checkups and a lot can happen in the six months in between.

So how can you take an active role, and make your home a positive place for your family’s dental health?


By far, the best thing you can do for your family’s dental health is to bring home wholesome foods. Avoid processed foods and carbohydrates. Thankfully, over the past decade our entire culture has gotten more “carb conscious.” There are so many alternatives out there now, compared to when I was growing up. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great substitute for a snack that, in the past, may have been made up of cookies and potato chips. Beyond the typical high carb snacks, there are the problems of pop and juice. As I’ve mentioned in my previous columns, juice may have natural sugar, as opposed to artificial sugar, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doing damage to your teeth. When kids admit to me that they drink pop, I always delve deeper I ask them, “What kind of pop do you drink?” Any guess as to the most common response? – “Whatever my mom (or dad) brings home.” Like it or not, parents are the gatekeepers for most of the junk that comes into the house. This may mean sacrificing our own indulgent habits for the sake of our family. You can’t always control what your kids eat and drink outside your home, but you can definitely keep a handle on what they’re consuming under your roof.


Our patients love to get that goodie bag at the end of their cleaning appointment. They get a new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and anything else we can throw in there to get them excited about their oral hygiene (no easy task). Sadly, when the floss runs out, many of them will not go out and buy more, they just wait until their next cleaning. Sometimes, the same can be said about their toothbrush. Please, please, buy extra toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss and have them stocked in your home. The reason you stop flossing should not be, “I ran out of floss.” Change your toothbrush regularly. Everyone brushes with a different level of intensity, but you should be changing your toothbrush at the first sign of bent bristles, which, on average, is about every 3-4 months. If you have had a history of gum disease, or space between your teeth, an interdental brush or proxy brush is an essential tool. Think of it as a toothpick with bristles. If someone in the family has braces or fixed bridges, make sure you have plenty of floss holders or superfloss, so you can thread the fl under and clean out any trapped food.


It goes without saying that the healthiest thing you can drink is water. The question is where are you getting your water from? Is it fluoridated? Most bottled water is not fluoridated, which can be a real problem. Communities in the United States without water fluoridation systems have been shown to have a higher risk of cavities. If you get your water from a municipal water source, then the chances are the water has fluoride in it and you should be just fine. If you have well water, then you should have your water tested to find out the mineral content. Even if your water is fluoridated, there are some home water filtration systems that will actually remove the fluoride along with other minerals from your drinking water. Bottom line, supplementing with a fluoride mouthwash once daily is a great adjunct to the minimal amounts of fluoride you may be getting in your daily water supply. This added boost can go a long way toward strengthening your enamel and fighting off tooth decay. Keep the environment in your home conducive to good dental health, and your family’s smiles will shine for years to come!

Saqib H. Mohajir DMD, FADIA
Dr. Mohajir is a member of the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, Chicago Dental Society and is a Fellow of the American Dental Implant Association. He maintains a private practice in Lemont, Illinois.

We hope this letter finds you well! We know it's been difficult for everyone during this challenging time, and we just wanted to let you know that we haven't forgotten about you! We've been open but only seeing emergency patients during the last 8 weeks, as was mandated by the Governor of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Public Health.


As of May 11, 2020, we have been given the green light to reopen for routine dental care. During the last couple months, as we've been seeing emergencies, we have been making daily adjustments to our protocols to ensure they are meeting and exceeding the guidelines given to us from the American Dental Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Research is ongoing, and we are prepared to adopt new guidelines as evidence emerges. We are thrilled to be opening our doors again to all of our existing patients, and we look forward to welcoming new patients to the practice as well. To give us time to acquire the necessary supplies and implement changes, we will be fully open as of June 1, 2020 for routine dental care.


We have implemented a number of new protocols in addition to our already rigorous infection-control standards:


  • All patients will be screened prior to their appointment with a CDC-approved questionnaire.
  • We will be asking you to stay in your car until you are sent a message to come in for your appointment.
  • We will be asking you to wear a mask before you enter the office; this goes for minor children as well.
  • We will ask you to use hand sanitizer once you enter, and will provide you with gloves to put on afterward.
  • We will be limiting the number of people in the waiting room to 1 individual at a time, unless a parent needs to accompany a minor. Once a minor child is brought back for treatment, we will be asking the parent to return to their car to wait until treatment is complete.
  • We will be taking temperatures before you enter the treatment area.
  • We will have you rinse with an antimicrobial mouth rinse after you are seated.
  • We have implemented additional air purification standards to reduce aerosols and contaminants in the whole office.
  • You will see the staff wearing more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) than we were wearing before. This is not just for the protection of the staff, but also to prevent cross-contamination to the patient.


We are requesting that you be patient with us during this time. We will all be adapting to a new normal, and that can be frustrating for everyone involved. Appointment times will take approximately 20-30 minutes longer than previously, to allow us the time needed to effectively implement the changes we talked about above. We would not recommend scheduling your appointments on days where you have a very tight schedule to maintain, as there may be unexpected delays.


We can't wait to get back to the work of getting you smiling again!


Thank you!

Saqib H. Mohajir, DMD

Pinewood Dental


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