‘Tis the season for reflection and resolutions. Of course, you can improve your oral hygiene any time of year, but there’s something about looking ahead that makes it seem not only possible but probable.
Here are our top 10 Dental Resolutions – take any or all of them into 2022!
1. Floss Regularly
We know we’re supposed to floss every day, but many people (maybe even most) don’t. There’s always a good excuse - we’re tired, flossing is annoying, it makes our gums bleed – and on and on. While these might be legitimate reasons, if you take the effort in the coming year to increase your flossing, you could reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Plus, you’ll have fresher breath!
Pro-Tip: Instead of setting the bar at daily flossing, start by increasing the regularity by two days, and once it becomes a habit, slowly increase. Before you know it, you’ll be touting the benefits of daily flossing!
2. Brush for a Full 2 Minutes
Another simple way to improve your oral hygiene is to make sure that you’re brushing for the recommended two minutes. Think you do? Studies have shown that most Americans really brush for less than 60 seconds. To ensure you’re brushing long enough, use a timer or an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer.
Pro-Tip: To add a little fun, try singing a “timing” song. The Jeopardy! theme is a good choice–it’s 30 seconds long – so, sing it once for each quadrant in your mouth.
3. Quit Smoking
We know this one is difficult, and if you’re still using tobacco, chances are it’s been on your New Year’s Resolutions list before. However, it bears repeating; smoking is one of the most dangerous habits for your teeth and your health. It increases your risk of gum disease and tooth loss. It also makes it more difficult to receive dental implants. This is one of the hardest resolutions to keep, but it’s also one of the most beneficial.
Pro-Tip: Don’t go it alone! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free resources to help you finally quit smoking.
4. Cut Down on Staining Foods
Stained teeth have a big impact on your appearance (and self-confidence). While teeth whitening is a great option, the results won’t last if you continue to consume a lot of staining foods and beverages. Some of the worst culprits are chocolate, coffee, tea, cokes, red wine, dark beer, and berries. We know that’s a long list of deliciousness that’s hard to cut out completely. The good news is that even a small reduction can make a difference.
Pro-Tip: Still can’t do it? Make a resolution to use a straw with cold staining beverages.
5. Buy an Electric Toothbrush
If you’re still using a manual toothbrush, consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush in the new year. Not only can electric toothbrushes help clean your teeth significantly better than a manual toothbrush, but most also have built-in timers that make it easier to brush for the recommended two minutes.
Pro-Tip: The ADA recommends the Oral-B Oscillating-Rotating-Pulsating Power Toothbrush line.
6. Stay Hydrated
In addition to cutting down on hunger and fatigue, staying hydrated also boosts your oral hygiene! When your mouth dries out, there isn’t enough saliva to consistently wash bacteria away from your teeth. As a result, it can increase the risk of cavities and bad breath.
Pro-Tip: Use that fancy new water bottle you got over the holidays to sip on water throughout the day!
7. Get Enough calcium
Calcium is a key nutrient that our bodies need for strong bones and teeth. Children are encouraged to drink their milk so they can “grow up big and strong,” but ensuring adequate calcium intake is just as important for adults. Calcium keeps the roots of your teeth strong, ensuring they remain secure in the gums. Common sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Pro-Tip: If you don’t consume dairy, you can still get calcium from broccoli, tofu, almonds, and dietary supplements.
8. Use mouthwash
While mouthwash isn’t a substitute for flossing and brushing, it can boost your oral health. Mouthwash helps to reduce plaque buildup and prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Plus, rinsing your teeth can help remove food particles not caught by brushing. Adding mouthwash to your routine is a quick and easy way to help keep your teeth healthy.
Pro-Tip: Mouthwash often has added fluoride and antiseptic benefits.
9. Invest in a Tongue Scraper
Just as bacteria can build up on your teeth and create plaque, it can also accumulate between taste buds and other crevices on your tongue. Along with dead skin cells and food debris, bacteria become trapped on the tongue and need to be physically removed. While brushing your tongue with a toothbrush helps to remove some bacteria, it’s not the most effective method.
Pro-Tip: Inexpensive tongue scrapers are usually available where toothpaste and dental floss are sold, so you can stock up on your oral health necessities at one stop!
10. Visit the Dentist Regularly
Another good resolution for the coming year is to see your dentist every six months for an examination and cleaning. Regular cleanings remove tartar and plaque, which cause cavities and tooth decay. And, if you’re prone to gingivitis or gum disease, routine dental visits increase the likelihood of early detection, making it easier to manage symptoms and reverse damage when possible.
Pro-Tip: If anxiety has prevented you from maintaining regular visits, please let us know! There are a number of options that can help patients overcome dental anxiety.
Schedule An Appointment
Want a healthier smile in the new year? Our team is here to help. Call our office to schedule an appointment today!