The start of a new year is the best time to make resolutions. Stop smoking. Go on a diet. Sign up for a gym membership. The list is endless. When you set your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget your teeth!
Your teeth are an important part of your overall health, and January is perfect for starting a regular routine of visiting your dentist twice a year. Improving your brushing habits and completing long overdue dental work could also be part of your dental resolutions.
Brush and floss more
Not many people know that they should brush their teeth for at least two minutes. Oral care becomes an afterthought when you’re rushing to work in the morning – until your tooth starts to ache.
Brushing the right way can prevent many dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. But first, you need the right tools:
- Manual or electric toothbrush with soft bristles in the appropriate size
- Fluoride toothpaste
To remove plaque bacteria properly, brush your teeth at least twice a day. Position the bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line and brush across the teeth, up and down, and in a circular motion.
Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, after you recover from sickness, or if you notice that the bristles are frayed. It is also important to floss at least once a day to remove plaque from areas between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. The best time to floss is before bedtime.
Lay off the sugar
Switching to a healthier lifestyle is a common item in most New Year’s resolutions. Cutting back on sugary snacks and drinks is essential to improving dental health. Instead of drinking soda, replace it with sugar-free sparkling water. Whenever you’re craving something sweet, chew sugar-free gum instead of candy or chocolate.
Carbohydrates and acids contribute to tooth decay, so it’s important to brush your teeth after eating. Chewing Xylitol gum after a meal can also help neutralize those acids and prevent cavities caused by bacteria and plaque buildup.
As you reduce your sugar consumption, you should also increase your intake of food and beverage that are designed to strengthen your teeth. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products are high in calcium. Foods rich in fiber encourage saliva production and scrub away plaque and other food particles.
Tobacco is bad for your teeth. When burned through a cigarette, it leaves tar residue all over your pearly whites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking also increases your risk for gum disease.
Many people struggle with nicotine addiction, but a lot of smokers have also managed to successfully quit. The start of a new year is the best time to try kicking the habit. Remove all cigarettes and lighters from your home and office. Check out free online tools. Join stop-smoking groups. Consult a doctor. The road to a smoke-free lifestyle won’t be easy, so it’s important to seek the support of family and friends.
Commit to finally having overdue dental work done
Check your crowns, implants, or fillings to see if they need restorative dental work. Delaying dental procedures will only make the problem worse. By addressing your issues early, you’ll be able to preserve your teeth, maintain proper alignment, and improve oral health.
Maybe you have an abnormal bite caused by thumb sucking, crooked teeth, overcrowding, or a previous injury. Now is the best time to correct these flaws with braces. Your dentist should be able to provide you with recommendations on the best orthodontic method for you.
Follow these tips as you start a new year and you’ll reap the rewards in no time!