With the new year comes the desire to change and become better. What do you want to accomplish this year? What goals do you want to reach? Unfortunately by February many resolutions fall by the wayside. Instead of making resolutions that are difficult to keep or aren’t significant, here are 5 resolution ideas that you can easily stick to and that will help you improve your oral and overall health.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Reducing the sugar you consume in food and drinks won’t just help your waistline. It can also help your oral health. Everyone has plaque, a sticky film that holds harmful bacteria, in their mouths. These bacteria produce acids that attack your teeth and irritate your gums, and they thrive on the sugar and carbohydrates that you eat. By cutting back on your sugar intake, you reduce their source of food and help prevent cavities and gum disease from having a chance to develop.
If you’re struggling with sugar cravings, try chewing sugar-free gum or drinking sugar-free seltzer water instead of soda. It can be hard to cut back, but it can help your oral health as well as your overall health.
To replace all that sugar that you won’t be consuming this year, you can eat healthier alternatives that can actually help your teeth and gums. Some foods, like apples and carrots, help remove other food particles and plaque from your teeth. Other fibrous foods, like spinach or broccoli, require a lot of chewing, which encourages saliva production and washes away plaque and bacteria.
Drink More Water
Water has countless benefits to your overall health, but it can also help your mouth as well. In addition to replacing sugary drinks, water can help keep your mouth clean. Especially after you eat, drink water to wash away remaining food particles.
You’ve been told countless times by the dentist that you need to floss once daily. But why? Although brushing does remove a lot of plaque, the bristles can’t reach in between teeth, where plaque can accumulate and cause real harm to your teeth and gums. If it’s not removed, it can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Flossing once a day can significantly reduce your chances of getting these conditions.
To make implementing flossing into your routine easier, keep the container near your toothpaste at home. Also consider keeping floss in your purse or in your desk at work, just in case you forget.
Attend Your Dental Checkup and Cleaning
You brush and maybe even floss daily. That should be enough to protect your smile, right? You need to see the dentist only when you have a problem, right? Think again. Visiting the dentist for your cleanings and checkups twice a year is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health. No matter how faithfully you maintain your teeth on your own, some plaque will build up in your mouth over time. Once plaque hardens, it can be very difficult to remove. Using professional tools, your dental hygienist can give you a fresh, clean slate every six months.
Your routine dental appointments are about more than cleaning your teeth. The dentist also conducts an examination of your teeth, gums, tongue, mouth and neck to check for anything abnormal. Through that exam, the dentist can identify signs of conditions like oral cancer, tooth decay, or gum disease—just to name a few—that you might not have noticed. As with many medical or oral conditions, early detection is key in getting the most effective, less intrusive, and less expensive treatment possible.
Consider making and keeping these resolutions this new year. You will get to enjoy the benefits of having a clean, healthy mouth and also get the satisfaction of knowing you accomplished your goals. Take the first step and meet with a dentist in Corpus Christi.
About the Author
Dr. Sarah Pitarra has been practicing dentistry since 2013. She is a active member of a number of professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, The Nueces Valley District Dental Society, the Corpus Christi Dental Study Club, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Texas Academy of General Dentistry. You can contact her by calling (361) 855-7171 or clicking here.