Make simple New Year’s resolutions for a healthy smile in 2015
It’s the New Year! A new year usually translates into new goals, whether it might be to lose weight, save more money, travel the world, or the like. Another great goal would be to improve your overall health, and one of the best ways to do that is to pay attention to your dental health. Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body so make these positive changes to ensure a happy mouth and healthy body.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating well is not only important for your overall health, but also for your dental health and your teeth. Poor nutrition can affect your entire immune system and can increase susceptibility to many common oral disorders including gum disease. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to find bacteria and inflammation, which helps to protect your teeth and gums. Additionally, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.
Put down the cigarettes and tobacco products. In addition to the harmful side effects that we all know about smoking (throat, lung and oral cancer, anyone?), using tobacco can also harm your mouth in a myriad of ways and increases your risk for tooth discoloration, cavities, gum recession and gum disease. Did you know that smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers? Smokeless tobacco is also harmful to your health, too, so just be safe and avoid all tobacco products. The good news is that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.
Limit your cocktails. Heavy or regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cancers of the oral cavity, throat, voice box, in addition to other parts of your body. Additionally, alcohol reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth, creating a more acidic environment that softens enamel and increases your chances of developing cavities. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, people who smoke, eat poorly and consume excessive alcohol also have increased gum recession. Studies show that smokers who regularly consume alcohol are less likely to brush their teeth on a regular basis, which can lead to even more problems.
Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from decay and gum disease, which is caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy: plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health and according to the Academy of General Dentistry, only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline where decay and gum disease often begin. Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums, which could worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums (gingivitis) and, eventually, gum disease. It is proven that diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of your body, so it is incredibly important to maintain good oral health so you have good overall health.
Stop sipping soda. Statistics indicate that the average American drinks more than 50 gallons of soda each year, which also comes along with more than 150 pounds of sugar. Sugar is known for contributing to obesity and for causing dental problems including excessive dental plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. If you’re looking for ways to hydrate and refresh, grab a glass of water and enjoy. This will not only improve your oral health, but you will surely lose weight and save money, too.
See your dentist for regular checkups. By seeing your dentist at least twice a year for regular hygiene visits, you can help prevent any dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. Regular visits allow your dentist to monitor your oral health and alter your dental health regimen to address any areas of concern.
It’s a New Year, so make your best effort to take care of YOU! Resolve to treat your mouth right and pay attention to your diet, give up smoking, drink less alcohol and just improve your overall healthy habits. If you do, you’ll find it easier to smile a bright, healthy smile all year long!