It’s almost the end of the year and the start of a new one, which means it’s time for a fresh start and to start making your resolutions. We want you to be confident about your smile in the new year, and we’ve got some quick and easy tricks to change it for the better in 2015. Follow these eight tips to keep your New Year’s resolution for healthier teeth.
1. Floss at least once per day. Start your year off right by simply flossing everyday and getting into the habit. Simply taking five minutes a day to correctly floss your teeth will help you eliminate bad breath, destroy bacteria living in-between your teeth (preventing gingivitis and gum disease), and save you a ton of money on expensive procedures in the long run.
2. Eliminate sugary drinks. We commonly tell our children to drink fewer sugary drinks, but we seem to find it hard to avoid them ourselves. Sugary drinks, such as soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices, break down the enamel on your teeth and cause tooth erosion. The breakdown of the enamel makes your teeth more sensitive and painful because of the lack of protection that has deteriorated overtime. So think again before you drink that acidic juice, and instead opt for a glass of water.
3. Cut back on wheat and corn. As shocking as it may seem, wheat and corn can easily hide in your mouth and get caught between your teeth or under your gum line. When this happens, bacteria accumulates and converts into plaque, which can cause gum disease and cavities. Be very careful to avoid eating them as a snack on their own, and instead have them as a side of a meal. While these foods alongside more tooth-friendly options, your mouth produces more saliva to handle the increased volume of food and cleans your mouth in the process.
4. Try oil pulling. By simply removing bacteria from your mouth, oil pulling has been said to alleviate many symptoms and could make you feel fresh for the new year. Some claim that this practice has led them to a whiter smile, healthier gums and fresher breath—among many other health benefits. While the research is not conclusive for this practice, we have no problem with our patients giving it a shot!
5. Always carry sugar-free gum for emergencies. Not only is it a nice refresher for your breath, but sugar-free gum actually cleans and protects your teeth by diffusing your chance of getting those awful cavities when you can’t brush.
6. Pucker up! Saliva cleans the mouth of bacteria, and kissing increases the amount of saliva being produced. Start the New Year off with a kiss. Tell that special guy or gal that the Dentist said so!
7. Relax. Understandably the holiday season can be quite stressful, but remember to relax and enjoy it as best as you can. People with a lot of stress have a higher risk of periodontal disease, as stress weakens the immune system. By weakening the immune system, bacteria is allowed to invade the gums. Reducing your stress will give your entire body a better New Year!
8. Check-in with your family dentist every 4-6 months. Now that you are on your way to make your New Year’s resolution for a healthy smile a reality, brag about it to your dentist. He or she will certainly appreciate the goals and validate how your changes have impacted your smile. We love to hear our patients get excited about their smiles!
From Dr. Ken and everyone else, have a very safe and happy New Year!