Last month, people made lengthy lists of resolutions to keep for 2016. While these resolutions usually revolve around physical health and fitness, dental health is often overlooked. Here are ten ways how to maintain a healthy mouth this new year.
Yearly goals about flossing are usually toward the bottom of my patients’ resolutions lists, along with less glamorous list items like “call mom more” and “eat more kale.”
But truthfully, your teeth and gums deserve a bigger voice, as your dental health can impact your overall health and well-being.
If your teeth and gums could talk, here’s what they’d say about keeping them well this new year.
1. Floss us every day
Flossing is an absolute necessity, and unfortunately, the number one thing people forget to do. If you don’t floss, plaque is more likely to build up, leading to decay and gum disease.
On the plus side, studies show that flossing every day can add years to your life. Write it in your planner, make a sign in your bathroom — do whatever it takes to develop this important health habit.
2. Go electric
Electric toothbrushes vibrate, rotate, oscillate and break up bacteria far better than a manual one does.
Leading electric toothbrush brands cover anywhere from 30,000 to 48,000 strokes per minute. In the same amount of time, you’ll only be able to do a fraction of that — 300-600 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush.
Electric toothbrushes more effectively blast away wine and coffee stains, and better ward off decay and gum disease.
3. Brush your tongue
Patients are always surprised when I remind them of this. The truth is, the bacteria lingering on your tongue secretes volatile-sulfur compounds, or VSC, which give off a rotten egg-type smell.
If you want to steer clear of bad breath, brushing your tongue is essential to integrate into your daily dental hygiene routine.
4. Sip all day and get decay
Sugary drinks are the mortal enemies of gums and teeth. It eats away at enamel and leaves cavities in its wake. If you have to have a sugary beverage, down it all at once.
5. White is alright
Choose white wine over red, and Alfredo over marinara sauce. The less stain-producing foods and drinks you consume, a brighter smile you will have.
6. Follow the 2×2 rule
Brush two times per day for two minutes. Electric toothbrushes usually have timers. I also tell my patients to use their iPhones to time themselves. You’re on that thing all day, so might as well put it to good use!
7. Change your toothbrush head
Especially after you’ve been sick. Bacteria tends to hide in the bristles of your brush.
8. Visit the dentist every six months
Make your appointments for 2016 right now! Having a professional cleaning and dental checkup every six months is important to your overall health. An oral cancer screening is typically included in your routine checkup.
While “going to the gym” and “be more mindful” may top your 2016 resolutions, don’t forget to prioritize your oral health this year. Encourage everyone in your family to keep these eight resolutions. Start your New Year’s resolution today and call our office for a cleaning and checkup.