When a new year begins, people everywhere make resolutions designed to improve their lives. For example, they may decide to join a gym, spend more time with family or eat healthier meals. Although many people think about improving their overall health, oral health is often neglected. However, improving your oral health is a worthwhile commitment. Not only that, but it is a manageable resolution that can be kept with moderate effort.
Why Improve Your Oral Health?
In addition to improving the appearance of your smile, better oral health offers other advantages. For example, poor oral health has been linked to a number of serious complications and conditions, including worsened diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Poor oral health can also affect your self-esteem, as you may feel uncomfortable showing your teeth when they are not in the best shape. Improving your oral health reduces your chances of facing all of these potential complications.
What You Can Do Right Now
Below are some simple changes you can make to improve your oral health in the new year.
1. Floss At Least Once Each Day
Most people brush their teeth daily, but this is not enough to remove all the food between your teeth and/or prevent the buildup of plaque. In order to effectively clean all of your tooth surfaces, you need to floss as well. Flossing removes the plaque and food that collects below the gumline and between the teeth. Because this is the area in which decay often begins, keeping it clean is essential.
One of the easiest ways to get into the habit of flossing daily is by putting your floss in a location that is visible when you brush your teeth, such as on the counter.
2. Brush Your Teeth Properly
One of the most important things you can do to improve your oral health is to establish good brushing habits. Brushing your teeth removes a large amount of the harmful bacteria that will eventually form plaque on your teeth. To brush your teeth properly:
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush and make short, gentle strokes. Move back and forth instead of in circles.
- Don’t brush your teeth too aggressively, as this can cause abrasions and irritated gums.
- Brush your teeth at least twice each day for two minutes each time.
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle.
- Change your toothbrush on a regular basis to ensure that it doesn’t become worn or dirty. Ideally, you should purchase a new toothbrush every three to four months.
3. Visit The Dentist Regularly
Another easy way to improve your overall oral health is to visit your dentist on a regular basis. Many people wait until they have experienced pain or an injury before they make an appointment with the dentist. However, to optimize your oral health, you need to visit the dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and a check-up. When you keep regular appointments with the dentist, any issues with your teeth will be discovered early in their development, allowing the dentist to deal with them quickly with small fillings or other minor treatments. This can help you to avoid more expensive solutions, such as extractions and crowns. Your dentist will also screen you for any sign of oral cancer so any abnormalities will be found as early as possible.
To ensure that you don’t forget to visit the dentist, making your appointments at the beginning of the year and be sure to put them in your calendar.
4. Eat Less Sugar
Sugary drinks and sweet foods can damage your teeth. The breakdown of sugar produces acids in your mouth that attack your enamel, leading to tooth decay. Although you don’t have to cut sugar out of your diet entirely, you should make an effort to reduce your intake as much as possible. For example, one easy way to reduce your intake of sugar on a daily basis is to stop drinking soda. Not only will this improve your oral health, but it may improve your overall health as well.
5. Quit Using Tobacco
If you are currently using tobacco products, cutting these products out of your life will improve both your oral health and your overall health. Using tobacco dramatically raises your risk of developing oral cancer, as well as a number of other issues. Some of the risks of using tobacco include gum disease, gum recession, cavities, discoloration of your teeth and bad breath. In addition, smoking tobacco makes you twice as likely to lose your teeth as someone who does not smoke.
With the support of your dentist, friends and family members, you can quit using tobacco. If you are having trouble quitting, try to use a nicotine gum or patch to help you overcome the addiction. Some people also find it easier to quit using tobacco when they replace it with another, healthier habit, such as chewing sugar-free gum.
6. Choose the Right Foods To Eat
Eating healthier is beneficial to your overall health in many ways, but it can also be good for your teeth. When you choose healthy foods, such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits, your body gets the nutrients it needs to keep your teeth strong. Eating a healthy diet also improves your immune system, making it easier for your body to fight any inflammation or infection in your mouth.
Following these tips above will make it easy for you to improve your dental health in the new year. Here at Martin Implants, your oral health is important to us. We offer comprehensive dentistry services to patients of all ages, including general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry and specialized treatments. If you need to make an appointment with a Stockton dentist or you have any questions about your oral health, please contact our office today.