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It’s almost a new year, and with the changing calendar come the inevitable resolutions. We often take this time to make healthy changes in our lives: Maybe you’re planning to work out more, or cook healthier meals. But have you thought about improving your mouth health?
The health of your teeth and gums influences your overall health, making it a great opportunity to make big lifestyle improvements with just a little effort. In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, consider taking on these New Year’s resolutions for a healthier, brighter smile this year.
Flossing once per day is one of the best things you can do for healthy teeth and gums. Flossing between teeth helps remove food particles that are stuck, as well as plaque that builds up and leads to tooth decay.
If you’re new to flossing, your gums may be sensitive at first. But the more you floss, the healthier your gums become and the less flossing irritates them.
You should get a new toothbrush every three months. Over time and with use, the bristles on your toothbrush soften and lose efficacy. To keep your toothbrush working well, replace it regularly. If you’re sick, you should change your toothbrush more often to prevent re-contamination.
Consider getting an electric toothbrush if you don’t already use one. Electric toothbrushes work harder to break down buildup in hard-to-reach places and make brushing easier.
The bacteria and debris on your tongue can lead to bad breath, known as halitosis. In addition to bad breath, debris on your tongue can be deposited onto your teeth and gums, even if you’ve just brushed them.
When you brush your teeth, lightly brush your tongue to eliminate debris and buildup. You can also use a tongue scraper if you prefer.
Mouthwash shouldn’t be a substitute for flossing and brushing. But when added to your regular care routine, mouthwash can boost your mouth health. Mouthwash often has added fluoride and antiseptic benefits.
Mouthwash can reduce plaque buildup and help prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Plus, rinsing your teeth can help remove food particles not caught by brushing. Adding mouthwash to your routine is a quick and easy way to help keep your teeth healthy.
Sticky sweets like caramels, toffee, and taffy often leave residue stuck to your teeth. Lingering sugar on your teeth can promote the development of cavities. If you chew gum, make sure it’s sugar-free to help protect your teeth.
If you just can’t say no to those sticky candies, make sure you rinse your mouth and brush your teeth soon afterward to help keep plaque from building up.
Calcium is a key nutrient that your body needs for strong bones and teeth. Calcium keeps the roots of your teeth strong and your teeth secure in your mouth. You can get calcium from dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you don’t consume dairy, you can still get calcium from broccoli, tofu, almonds, and dietary supplements.
Just like many sticky candies, soft drinks contain a lot of sugar. Sugar leads to cavities and tooth decay, making soft drinks a bad choice for healthy teeth.
To minimize the negative effects of sugary drinks, replace them with water and remember to rinse your mouth with water if you do have a sugary soft drink once in a while.
Staying hydrated benefits your overall health, and your mouth is no exception. In addition to the benefits of hydration, drinking water throughout the day can help keep teeth cleaner. Drinking water can help flush out food particles that are stuck between teeth, rinsing them before you have a chance to brush and floss again.
Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause gum disease and weaken your immune system, making it harder for gums to recover from damage or disease. Tobacco causes oral tissue damage and can stain and weaken your teeth.
For a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime, avoid tobacco and don’t ever start smoking. If you are a smoker and you want to quit, we have resources for support.
You should visit the dentist every six months or so for regular dental cleanings. At the office of Deidra Bird Kodel, DDS, we thoroughly examine and clean your teeth, checking for signs of gum disease or other conditions.
Regular cleanings remove tartar and plaque, which cause cavities and tooth decay. If you have gingivitis or gum disease, early detection is key to help manage symptoms and reverse damage.
Want a healthier smile in the new year? Our dentists and hygienists are here to help. Call our office or request an appointment through our online form to start your journey to a beautiful smile.