Poor Dental Hygiene in Nursing Homes – One of the Reasons CLEARsmile was Invented

Dr. Igor Reizenson, the founder and inventor of CLEARsmile, has been in dentistry for over ten years and many of the patients he has worked have been patients with dexterity problems, including the elderly. According to a New York Times article published in August of 2013, titled “In Nursing Homes, an Epidemic of Poor Dental Hygiene,” this is still a problem that many patients and families have to deal with today.

The article reveals some shocking facts from a survey from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors:

– In Wisconsin, nearly 1,100 residents from 24 homes were examined. About 31 percent had teeth broken to the gums, with visible roots; 35 percent had substantial oral debris.

A 2006 study of five facilities in upstate New York found only 16 percent of residents received any oral care at all.

Since 2004, when researchers first linked oral bacteria to the occurrence of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older people, a series of studies has shown that oral care — from regular brushing to professional dental care — might reduce the risk. Roughly one in 10 cases of deaths from pneumonia in nursing homes could be prevented by improving oral hygiene, according to a 2008 systematic review published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Beside placing the blame on the care facilities, the article also points out that brushing someone else’s teeth is a very personal experience, and some patients may decline the assistance. Dr. Reizenson was well aware of these issues after serving time with bed-ridden patients in a residency program at the Veterans Hospital of New York. As he thought about the features of a new kind of oral hygiene device, he imagined it being small, extremely easy to use, and physically easy to handle.

In addition to the elderly, CLEARsmile was also designed for young children and people with braces. Anyone with dexterity problems, or the general public who are sick of spending their money on disposable toothbrushes and other oral heath tools, can benefit from the convenience, speed and effectiveness of CLEARsmile.

Dr. Reizenson, the founder of Clearsmile, has been in dentistry for over ten years and has worked with many sick and elderly patients as well as very young children. Both types of patients have dexterity problems. Years ago, he encountered elderly, bed-ridden patients while doing his residency program at the Veterans Hospital of Western New York. Dr. Reizenson was greatly saddened to observe the lack of attention to oral health care in this fragile group. It was impossible for staff to continually brush and floss this group of patients in a proper and effective manner. Some patients could hardly sit up, some could barely open their mouths. This was what sparked the thought: “Why isn't here a machine that can effectively clean our mouths while being small, easy to physically handle and be easy to use?” Once this need struck Dr. Reizenson, he began to imagine this ideal oral hygiene device.

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Dr. Reizenson of CLEARsmile was recently featured as one of 13 medical device and technology experts, discussing the #1 challenge that MedTech companies face when scaling.

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