The new year is a popular time to evaluate your past 365 days and look towards improving yourself. While many may choose to cut sugars out of their diet, or try to start that new hobby they’ve always said they would, focusing on healthy teeth could be the perfect New Year’s Resolution for you! After all, most Americans experience issues with gum disease and cavities every year, and it’s completely preventable!
Read on to learn tips for achieving a New Year’s Resolution designed to get healthy teeth through the upcoming year and for years beyond!
The Best Steps for Healthy Teeth in the New Year
Evaluate Your Brushing
It may seem silly if you’ve been brushing your teeth for decades, but data shows that approximately one third of all adults brush their teeth incorrectly! While brushing is a simple task, it’s something that some people never really thought about – and therefore learned bad habits that are ingrained into their daily lives years later.
For the New Year, take a close look at your brushing habits:
- Are you brushing for about two minutes?
- Are you making sure to brush your gums as well as your teeth?
- Are you brushing with the right force, or is it too hard or too soft?
Getting every surface of your mouth thoroughly cleaned of bacteria takes diligence. If nothing else, be mindful of brushing for a few days as part of your start to a new year of healthy teeth to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk of cavities!
One of the most common sources of cavities is caused by skipping flossing. It’s something that dentists always remind you about, but it can be challenging to incorporate into your daily routine. After all, it’s a bit harder than brushing, and its effects are less obvious to the untrained eye. But make no mistake, flossing isn’t an “extra” step towards healthy teeth – it’s a necessity!
Brushing only cleans about 60 percent of the surfaces of your teeth – the top, back, and bottom. But the sides are just as important. In fact, the sides of your teeth are the most likely place for cavities to start due to how food and bacteria get trapped inside, even in mouths that are regularly brushed!
When thinking about a New Year’s Resolution for healthier teeth, consider all the different ways you could floss. Water flossers, threaded flossers, or even one-use flossing picks are all great ways to get started by making flossing easier for you.
Quit Bad Dental Habits
Sometimes making a positive change doesn’t require doing anything extra – instead, you simply need to stop doing things that are harmful. The health of your teeth and gums are impacted by so many different things, it’s possible you could be hurting your goals for healthier teeth without even knowing it. Some of the most common bad dental habits are:
Smoking – The most obvious bad dental habit is the use of tobacco (smoking or otherwise.) It causes all types of issues ranging from staining to exacerbating gum disease to even oral cancer. Smoking cessation is one of the best things you can do for a healthier mouth, and a healthier you in general!
Using Teeth as Tools – Your teeth are tough, but they’re not designed to be used as replacements for your fingers or other tools. Opening packages, bottles, or chewing your fingernails are all things that wear down your teeth or cause immediate damage.
Chewing Ice – If you love a tall glass of ice water, make sure you aren’t chomping down on the ice cubes after you’re done. Like plastic or other hard objects, ice cubes and teeth just don’t get along. Your chances of a cracked tooth rise dramatically every time you bite down on a hard ice cube.
Cut Back on Sugary or Acidic Foods
One of the hardest things to do when it comes to achieving healthy teeth is to avoid the things that put them at risk in the first place. While no diet keeps you free of the need of brushing and flossing, certain foods or drinks wear away at your teeth much more quickly, making it harder to keep them at their healthiest.
The biggest culprits are acid and sugar:
Acid – Acidity is the actual root cause of tooth decay. Whether it’s from bacteria, food-grade acids like carbonic acid, or natural acidity found in citrus fruits, it all wears away at the protective layer of enamel on your teeth. As your enamel wears away, your teeth become vulnerable to damage.
Sugar – Sugar is well-known as a danger to teeth, but it’s not actually a direct threat. Instead, sugar’s real risk is that it’s an extremely dense food and energy source for bacteria in your mouth. As those bacteria consumes sugar left in your mouth, it leaves behind acidic waste that does the real damage.
Not all acids or sugars come from unhealthy foods. As we mentioned, common citrus fruits, which are generally good for your health and diet, also contain acids. That means you’ll likely never be able to avoid them entirely. And we would never expect you to! Instead, consider being more mindful about how much and how often you consume these foods or beverages. Even small changes like making sure you finish your soda quickly versus sipping it over a long period of time reduces the overall exposure to acids or sugars, making it easier to work towards healthy teeth in the new year.
Contact Walbridge Dental
Enjoy a healthier smile! From routine cleaning and exams to advanced restorative treatments to oral cancer detection, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
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