We all know that New Year's is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. That's one of the things that I love so much about the New Year! It really gives you a true clean slate that can only come once a year. What you decide to do with this opportunity of a fresh start is then left up to you.
The most popular New Year's resolution, goal, or whatever you want to call it, always seems to be focused around health, but not usually oral health. Most people will re-commit to going to the gym, eating better, etc; with little to no attention being paid towards addressing their poor dental hygiene habits. I've always wondered why this is. Sure, if you are trying to improve your personal appearance going back to the gym and eating better is great, but did you know that statistically the first thing people will notice about and judge you on is your teeth? That's right. Not how flat your stomach is or how big your biceps are, but if your teeth look white, healthy, and make for a nice smile!
Besides helping you to look better which will in turn help you to feel better. Getting your oral health on track also has many direct benefits to your overall health. In fact, did you know that your dental health can effect things such as: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and many other health conditions for the positive or negative. Not to also mention the health of your pocket book a few years down the road from not needing numerous procedures done due to years of poor dental care. Now I understand that everyone is very busy, already has 42 resolutions on their to do list, and has most likely never flossed except for the mornings of your dental appointments. Yes, we can tell.. So what I want to do is recommend a few very simple, yet easy New Year's oral health steps of action to get your smile on track for 2018 and beyond! Now these are not ideal, but we realize that most people for example don't floss regularly if at all. So instead of unrealistically trying to get you to go from never flossing to flossing every day, we are going to take baby steps with the mindset that something is much better than nothing.
1. Floss at least Twice a Week - Now ideally you'll want to ramp this up to once per day. But for now twice a week is infinitely better than hardly ever, so start small and work your way up. Plaque on and in between your teeth begins to mineralize into tarter in as little as 24-48 hours. So even just flossing on an every other day or every third day basis will help out a ton in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and tarter free!
2. Drink more Water - Did you know that if your drink water with your meals versus not the residual food leftover on your teeth will be drastically less? So drink lots of water with your meals both while eating, and then maybe after the meal swish around some water in your mouth and through your teeth. The results won't be the same as brushing after every meal, but a whole lot better than not doing anything. Also, when drinking water, try to drink tap water. The reason being is it has very small doses of fluoride in it, which will help keep your tooth enamel healthy and strong.
3. Rinse with Listerine and ACT - This is a very easy thing to do that will pay dividends in the long run. Just simply rinse with Listerine before you brush every day and then rinse with ACT (a fluoride mouthwash) after you brush right before bed. The Listerine will help to make your brushing that much more effective by breaking up plaque before you brush. While the ACT mouthwash will make sure that your tooth enamel stays healthy and strong long term.
4. Drink less Soda and Energy Drinks - Besides having tons of sugar in them, these drinks are also very acidic which will eat away at your tooth enamel faster than most anything else. Now ideally you would want to cut these products out completely, but we know that can be easier said than done sometimes. Instead, maybe just start off by cutting your consumption in half and swishing some water around in your mouth right when you are done with the drink so that the acid and sugars don't marinate on your teeth. These two simple things can make a huge difference.
5. Go to the Dentist - Just simply going to your regularly scheduled dental appointments every 6 months will also make a world of difference to your oral health. Especially if you haven't been for a while. Some things just can't be done at home and need the help of a professional.
So this year, let's focus on getting our overall health back in shape including our oral health. Take these simple and very easy to incorporate tips to heart and trust me, you will be doing a world of difference for your oral health versus maintaining your status quo. Happy New Year everyone!