It’s the beginning of a new year and time for most people to make New Year’s resolutions. Whether it is committing to going to the gym or starting a healthy diet, now is a perfect time to add your dental health to the list.
As the new year begins, here are five New Year’s resolutions for a healthy smile:
Schedule a Dental Appointment
You may not realize how overdue you are for your dental checkup or cleaning. If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental cleaning, then you’re due. Scheduling regular checkups allows your dentist to monitor your dental health and address any concerns before they have a chance to become bigger problems. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), some conditions, such as sensitivity in the teeth or bleeding gums, are signs that it’s time to see your dentist. Even if your teeth look and feel fine, it’s still a good idea to schedule an appointment. Visiting your dentist every six months is the best way to ensure a clean bill of dental health, so this year, schedule regular appointments to keep your mouth in good shape.
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Eating well is important for maintaining good dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including gum (periodontal) disease. Highly processed foods are typically higher in sugar and starch than whole, unprocessed foods. The excess sugars and starches break down and turn into harmful sugar acids in the mouth and body more quickly. The sugar-acid on the teeth accelerates the plaque-building process, which leads to decay and cavities. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums.
Cut Back on Sugar
Sugary snacks and beverages are your teeth’s worst enemy. Cutting back on sugar can help reduce your risk for tooth decay considerably. When sugar breaks down in your mouth, acid is produced. This acid wears away your enamel and causes tooth decay. The best way to cut back on sugar is to reduce the number of sugary treats you buy and make simple swaps. For instance, chew sugar-free gum, drink water and if you are craving something sweet, munch on a piece of fruit.
Quit Smoking or Using Other Tobacco Products
Using tobacco products can cause all kinds of oral and dental health problems, including bad breath, stained teeth, gum recession, tooth loss and oral cancer. Smokers are more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers. Smokeless tobacco can be just as harmful to your oral health. Sugar is often added to enhance the flavor to smokeless tobacco and it typically contains sand and grit, which can wear down teeth, causing tooth sensitivity and erosion.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing and flossing your teeth are the first line of defense against oral health complications. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health since only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline, where decay and gum disease often begins. If you don’t brush and floss as recommended, plaque can develop on and between teeth causing decay and gum disease, which can lead to other health problems like heart disease.
When it comes to making better choices for the new year, the best thing to do is to follow a daily routine and schedule so sticking to the new year’s resolution will become second nature. This includes scheduling regular dental cleaning appointments at JR Dental in Jacksonville, FL at (904) 786-5850.