As 2016 draws to a close, many of us will focus on self-improvement and new goals heading into the new year. Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions we see include goals like eating healthier, saving money or spending more time with friends and family.
Despite the best intentions, many of us simply cannot stick to our resolutions. In fact, a study from the University of Scranton found that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
So, why do so many people fail at their resolutions? Most of these failures have to do with setting a goal that is too big. Rather than committing to a large-scale goal, we should focus on a series of small attainable goals.
For our patients here in Dacula, we would suggest this same process to improve their dental health in the new year. Instead of choosing a resolution like achieving a healthier smile, patients should commit to smaller goals (like avidly brushing and flossing) to move you toward your larger goal.
Dr. Devang Shah explains more about this topic with a look at the top five mouth-friendly habits to adopt in the new year.
Best Oral Health Habits For 2017
There are plenty of factors that influence our dental health, ranging from dietary habits to oral hygiene routines. With that said, it’s no surprise that there are various ways to improve your pearly whites. Some of the best habits to commit to in 2017 include:
Brushing And Flossing
It goes without saying that brushing and flossing are crucial for achieving a healthy smile Unfortunately, we know many patients fall short with their oral hygiene routine. Dental professionals recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once per day. Doing so will remove plaque and food particles that cause trouble for your dental health.
We’d also like to stress the importance of brushing and flossing properly! Even if you are following the recommended brushing and flossing routine, it may not be effective if you’re rushing through it. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth with small circular motions for at least two minutes.
Patients should also take the time to carefully floss between each tooth. Using a gentle c-shape motion will remove plaque in between teeth and underneath the gum line.
If you aren’t currently flossing each day, we strongly encourage you to include this into your routine in 2017. Not flossing each day can allow patients to miss up to 40% of the surface area of their teeth.
Keep A Balanced Diet
Although we often hear goals of keeping a balanced diet for overall wellness or weight loss, a well-rounded diet can also benefit your dental health. Including plenty of fibrous fruits and veggies in your diet helps to scrub away plaque and promote saliva production. Saliva is important because it neutralizes acids in the mouth that contribute to tooth decay.
Including some dairy products can also aid dental and bone health. Calcium is important for healthy teeth as well as the underlying jawbone that serves as support for your smile. Nearly 99% of the body’s calcium reserves are stored in the bones and teeth, so including enough calcium in your diet is essential to a healthy smile.
Patients should also keep their sugar intake to a minimum. When you consume sugar-filled foods and drinks, bacteria already present in your mouth will feed off the sugar and create an acidic substance. This acid can begin to wear down at your tooth enamel and spur on the decay of your teeth.
Quit Tobacco Products
Tobacco usage is linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. While many of us are aware of the overall health risks, dental health complications can often be overlooked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking will double your risk for gum disease. Smokers are at a higher risk for gum disease because smoking weakens your immune system, which helps to fight off gum infection. On top of this, smoking also restricts blood flow to the gums, which slows down healing from infection.
If gum disease isn’t treated and smoking continues, patients are then susceptible to tooth loss. As gum disease worsens, the gums will start to recede and teeth lose the support holding them in place. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, men who smoke lose 2.9 teeth for every 10 years of smoking and women lose 1.5 teeth for every decade.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is important for the overall function of your body and is also important for keeping a healthier smile. Drinking enough water helps to promote proper saliva production, which helps to reduce acidity in the mouth.
Keeping hydrated with water also helps to wash away any food particles that are left over in your mouth. Washing away these particles stops bacteria from metabolizing leftover sugar and creating acids that contribute to tooth decay.
Visit The Dentist Regularly
Ideally, patients should visit the dentist twice a year for a check-up and cleaning. Doing so will remove any built-up tartar on the teeth and spot any potential problems that can lead to severe implications on your smile down the road.
Forgetting to go to the dentist as often as you should is a bad habit that many of us are guilty of. However, we’d like to stress the importance of really making your dental appointments a priority in 2017. You should not wait until you feel pain or visually notice a problem to visit your dentist. A proactive approach toward your dental health will save you the high price of dental bills and pain from tooth decay or gum disease.