7 New Year's Resolutions for a Healthier SmilePublished 12/31/2013
Making a list of resolutions or goals is a great way to start the New Year. It’s the perfect time to resolve to let go of old, bad habits and take on new, healthier ones. One common topic you will find on many lists is “health”. While on that topic, why not include resolutions for a healthier smile this year? Studies have shown that good oral health helps promote good overall health. In the same way, diseases in the mouth can lead to other health issues. That is why it is especially important to maintain good oral hygiene. For this new year, resolve to be better to your mouth. Use these 7 tips to help you meet your goal:
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
It’s no secret that eating fruits and veggies is important for your overall health. Good nutrition helps improve the entire immune system and also helps fight common oral disorders, including gum disease. 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. Crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery also help clean plaque from teeth and freshen your breath.
Limit Your Coffee, Tea & Red Wine
Beverages like coffee, tea and red wine are known to stain teeth. Some stains can be superficial and polished off during your scheduled cleaning with your family dentist, but drinking these beverages frequently can also cause internal staining of the tooth enamel. Limiting these drinks and rinsing with water to help get the dark liquids off the teeth will reduce staining as well as risk of decay.
Drink More Water
Drinking plenty of water comes with many health benefits. Water keeps your body hydrated, energizes your muscles, and cleanses your body of toxins. Water also contains zero calories and unlike acidic and sugary drinks that are harmful to your teeth, it helps prevent decay by flushing your teeth of food and acid.
Brush Twice a Day
Brushing twice a day is essential for removing plaque from your teeth. Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth on a daily basis and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars in your food and beverages producing acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. Not brushing regularly allows plaque to sit on the teeth and causes the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in a cavity. That is why it is so important that you brush twice daily. Be sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush; stiffer bristles and aggressive brushing causes gums to recede and can wear enamel away from the teeth.
Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Plaque that is not removed daily by flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. As the tartar, plaque and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease.
Visit Your Family Dentist Twice A Year
By seeing your dentist at least twice a year, you can help prevent dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. During your visit your dentist not only performs a deep cleaning to remove stains and tartar from your teeth but also screens for any other possible conditions.
Don’t Delay On Dental Treatment
A small cavity, left untreated, can easily grow into a large tooth abscess and require a root canal and a crown rather than a small filling. Treating tooth decay early means that smaller and less invasive treatments will be required. This helps maintain the structure and stability of the remaining tooth, not to mention keeps treatment costs lower. If left untreated, decay can also spread to other teeth and may cause infections throughout the rest of the body.
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