With the New Year on the horizon, it’s time to finally say goodbye to all of those old unhealthy habits that were holding you back. There’s no doubt that the past year has been tough all around, but now you can look forward to a better and brighter future for yourself and your teeth!
Prioritizing proper dental care at home doesn’t just ensure you have healthy teeth and gums, though. It also helps improve your overall physical and mental health in so many ways. A beautiful, bright smile can help boost your self-confidence and encourage you to smile more. And smiling (even if you don’t always feel like it) has been proven to improve your mood. Make self-care a top priority this New Year by committing to the following dental care resolutions.
Maintain a Strict At-Home Dental Hygiene Routine
The path to strong healthy teeth starts at home with a good dental hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every night before bed. For good measure, throw in rinsing your mouth with a non-abrasive alcohol-free mouthwash to help kill more harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Sticking to a custom at-home dental care routine that’s recommended specifically for you by your dentist is an effective pre-emptive measure to protect your teeth and gums against gingivitis caused by plaque buildup, periodontal disease, and oral infections. Plaque is that sticky, colourless film of bacteria that attaches itself to your teeth and feeds off of leftover food particles in your mouth.
Brushing alone can’t get rid of food particles in hard to reach places such as the back of your mouth or between your teeth. Flossing is the only way to remove hard-to-reach food particles that get stuck in between your teeth throughout the day. As an additional preventative effort, you should also rinse your mouth out with water after every meal to ensure food particles don’t get stuck between your teeth.
Cut Down on Sugar
As a child, you probably heard the phrase “too much candy will rot your teeth”. Whoever told you that was absolutely correct. Aside from tasting good in your favourite desserts, snacks, and drinks, sugar doesn’t have any redeeming qualities—especially when it comes to your health. Among other serious health issues like diabetes, consuming too much sugar has been directly linked to mild and severe tooth decay by numerous studies over the years.
So the next time you want to reach for a sugary drink or snack, consider water or a sugar-free option instead.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating healthier and drinking more water is a common item on many a New Year’s resolution list. Whether or not people actually stick to these resolutions is an entirely different story.
Eating crunchy fruit and vegetables can actually help improve your dental health by naturally cleansing your teeth while you chew. Plus, the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals from healthy foods—particularly foods that contain calcium and fluoride—help maintain strong and healthy bones throughout your body. In addition to eating healthy, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water per day (more or less depending on your specific needs) cleanses your mouth in between meals and also promotes saliva production, which reduces dry mouth that creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
Stop Chewing Tobacco and Quit Smoking
Did you know that a single cigarette contains thousands of toxins and harmful chemicals, some of which are also found in products like lighter fluid and motor oil? Barring that, the toxins in cigarettes also reduce the oxygen levels in your bloodstream, which your body needs for basic organ functionality.
Chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes also leads to a number of oral health issues including tooth discolouration, gum recession, cavities, and gum disease. It can also increase your chances of developing oral, throat, and lung cancer. The severe tooth decay that’s correlated with long-term smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause your teeth to fall out. It’s never too late to quit and doing so will increase your chances of recuperating your oral health.
Drink Less Alcohol
After the dust settles from ringing in the New Year, you may want to consider reducing your alcohol intake in the name of preserving your oral health. Alcohol, especially mixed drinks that are loaded with added sugar, can be very abrasive to your teeth. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to severe tooth decay, gum recession, and other oral issues—especially when combined with other bad habits like smoking.
Sharing a drink with friends and family once in a while is one thing, but if you find yourself overdoing it every weekend, you may want to consider the overall health repercussions of excessive alcohol consumption.
Consider Cosmetic Dentistry
There’s no shame in looking into cosmetic dentistry. Whether you have crooked teeth, an overbite, an underbite, or any other dental issues, it’s better to get these things taken care of rather than letting them get worse over time. Cosmetic dentistry treatments and procedures, such as getting braces or Invisalign treatments to correct crooked teeth, can help improve your dental health while also giving you a much-needed confidence boost.
Schedule Regular Dental Appointments
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that the average person should schedule a dental exam or cleaning at least once every six months. Of course, the frequency of your dental appointments depends on the state of your dental health.
Some patients may require more frequent treatments or checkups, while others can get away with scheduling them further apart. As long as you take good care of your teeth and practice good oral hygiene at home, then you should be able to maintain perfectly healthy teeth. Scheduling dental exams and cleanings on a regular basis is a great way to help you stay on top of your overall oral health. It also ensures that minor issues are caught early and that the proper treatment is administered before they develop into worse problems over time.
Worried about going to the dentist because of COVID-19? At Princeview Dental Group, we’re doing everything in our power to guarantee the health and safety of all of our patients. Read about our COVID-19 protocols here or contact us to learn more.