Most of us make some type of New Year’s resolution each year. There are some common ones to be sure, including losing weight, exercising more, and maybe cutting down on sugar or junk food. But there’s one resolution that you might have overlooked – resolving to enjoy better oral health in the New Year. While some resolutions are hard to keep, you’ll be pleased to learn that this one is relatively easy! Here are some tips on how you can enjoy better oral health in the year to come:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Eating right can have a positive effect on your gums and teeth, not to mention your overall health. In fact, the same diet you would follow to lose a little weight, lower your cholesterol, and improve your heart and brain function will also benefit your oral health. That means including more fruits and vegetables in your diet, staying away from too much sugar, avoiding fried foods, and keeping junk food to a minimum. Fortunately, there are a variety of tasty foods that are great for your teeth and gums. In addition to fruit and vegetables, enjoy low-fat dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk. Nuts and legumes help to fight off bad bacteria and reduce inflammation of gum tissue. And crunchy produce like apples, celery and carrots actually help to keep your teeth clean while providing a variety of nutrients at the same time.
- Quit using tobacco products and limit your alcohol. Making positive changes in your diet helps both your overall and your oral health. The same can be said for quitting bad habits, such as smoking or chewing tobacco and drinking too much alcohol – stopping can benefit not only your overall health, but your oral health as well. Tobacco of any kind, whether you smoke it or chew it, can stain your teeth and increase your risk of developing tooth decay, receding gums, gum disease and oral cancer. Alcohol can also negatively impact your oral health. It’s common for people who drink too much to experience receding gums, chronic dry mouth, and poor oral hygiene habits – all of which spell trouble for your oral health.
- Maintain good oral hygiene habits every single day. You probably already know that you should be brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. But to achieve your resolution of better oral health this year, try improving that oral hygiene routine to include brushing and flossing twice a day, using a water flosser at least once a day, and rinsing with an anti-bacterial mouthwash each day.
- Visit your dentist for regular oral exams and professional cleanings. Of course, no plan for improved oral health would be complete without regular trips to your dentist. Most people should visit the dentist twice a year for oral exams and cleanings, but if you’re more prone to developing gum disease or are experiencing some other oral health issue, you might need to go more often.