The start of the New Year is a wonderful time to perfect old routines, as well as start new ones. Many of us opt to make healthy lifestyle choices for our bodies, like exercise and diet changes, but New Year’s resolutions aren’t only from the neck down. This year, make a resolution for your teeth! Pledge to step up your oral health routine, a resolution that can have lasting benefits throughout your body. Your smile deserves a resolution too!
Floss once a day
Flossing is an important factor in maintaining a proper oral health routine. Some of you may ask why. Well, flossing removes all the food particles and plaque that accumulate between your teeth. In fact, when you skip flossing, you miss 35% of surfaces of your teeth. If you neglect to floss, the plaque builds up and can cause gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that can be linked to adverse health effects. Flossing helps remove food particles and reduce plaque buildup, leaving you with a healthier mouth.
Brush twice a day
As you probably know, all dentists recommend that you brush for two minutes, twice a day. There are a variety of toothbrushes you can choose from (manual vs. electric). It’s up to you, but either one will do the job just fine. It’s important to develop a good brushing technique. Here are some tips:
- Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to prevent tooth decay.
- Place your brush at a slight angle toward the gums when brushing along the gum line.
- Use a gentle touch – it doesn’t take much pressure to remove the plaque from your teeth. Vigorous scrubbing can irritate your gums and cause bleeding or discomfort.
- Concentrate on cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth.
- Brushing your tongue (gently) can remove bacteria that cause bad breath.
Pro-tip: Each time you brush, start in a new area of your mouth. Starting at the same place can cause you to neglect some sections, while over cleaning other sections. Try to switch it up.
Schedule 2 checkups every year
Getting your teeth cleaned every year is important. Teeth cleanings will reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease; however most people still neglect visiting their dentist two times a year. Most dental insurance covers two cleanings per year, so why not take advantage of it? These cleanings will reduce plaque and tartar buildup, and provide you with an early warning system of perhaps some more serious dental problems, such as cavities, gingivitis, receding gums, bruxism, and more.
Switch up your diet
Eating healthy is not only good for your body, but it’s also good for your teeth. Healthy foods (such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains) contain minerals and vitamins that keep your body healthy, and your teeth nice and strong. There are some foods that you should avoid, for example: refined sugar, found in candy, sweets and soda. Cutting down on sweets can significantly improve your oral health and decrease your chances of getting any cavities.
Quitting cigarettes, or other forms of smoking, is difficult. As you may know, smoking can cause tremendous health issues, both internally and externally. Here are a few oral-specific health problems smoking causes: plaque buildup, bad breath, teeth discoloration, tooth decay, and cancer, all of which can be difficult to fight if you continue to smoke. There are various options to assist with smoking cessation. Talk to your doctor about a method that works best for you.
Drink more water
Water has several oral health benefits. Water helps wash away any food debris that may be stuck on your teeth without your knowing. Also, most water contains a small amount of fluoride. Fluoridated water helps prevent tooth decay. Read this to learn more. And water also helps your body produce a healthy amount of saliva. Saliva is important for several reasons. Saliva:
- Keeps your mouth moist and comfortable.
- Fights germs in your mouth and prevents bad breath.
- Helps your taste buds remain healthy.
- Protects tooth enamel
- Prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
The next time you pick up a can of soda, consider replacing it with a glass of water.
One of the major causes of tooth damage is bruxism (or tooth grinding). Tooth grinding typically occurs when one is asleep, so you are totally unaware of it happening. Studies have shown that stress is one of the contributing factors to bruxism, so it is important to keep your stress levels down. Meditation is a great way to help you relax and reduce stress levels. So the next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed out, try to use a method of your choosing to help you relax.
Start the New Year with a Great Smile
Most New Year’s resolutions tend to be based around joining a gym, or losing weight, but making aa resolution that improves your oral health can have great lasting benefits throughout the year. If you have any questions on how to improve your oral health, contact us today or schedule an appointment. We love Giving Reasons to Smile. Make 2015 your year to smile big!