We’ve all been there: you’re late going to bed and the last thing you want to do is stop and brush your teeth. It doesn’t even require that much time, but the pull of sleep is so much more enticing.
The start of the new year is a great time to start anew. Consider adding “skipped dental habits” to your New Year’s Resolutions, like those late-night tooth-brushing sessions.
Some of the most commonly skipped dental habits include:
- Seeing Your Dentist Regularly
- Flossing Your Teeth Once a Day
- Brushing Your Teeth Before Bed
But is it really that bad to miss these every now and then? We like to think that a time or two won’t hurt us, but here are some reasons why these dental habits are so important.
Seeing Your Dentist Regularly
It’s not uncommon for individuals and families to skip regular dental appointments throughout the course of the year (or years!). It seems harmless. However, it can actually cause more harm than you’d think.
The problem is that there is a very direct link between oral health and overall health that most people don’t think about. If you have neglected your dental health, your overall health will start to show signs of that.
Studies have been done on this close connection between dental and overall health, finding links to heart disease, lung disease, bone loss, stroke risk and diabetes. Even skipping one routine dental visit could increase your risk of heart disease by 70%, according to Temple Terrace Dentist.
If the cost of dental care is keeping you from seeing the dentist (one of the most common reasons for this skipped dental habit), consider getting a discount dental plan to help with the cost. Continuing to miss out on visits will only increase the work (and cost) needed later on.
Flossing Your Teeth Once a Day
The truth is, flossing can dislodge food that regular tooth-brushing just can’t get. That’s why flossing at least once a day every day is so important. If you aren’t able to floss, plaque can build up between your teeth and lead to other consequences like:
- Yellow teeth
- Tartar buildup
- Bad breath
The result of long-lasting plaque is tartar, which is almost impossible to get off your teeth on your own. You need to see a dentist to have them remove the tartar buildup. This buildup can also lead to cavities in between your teeth, which will mean fillings. And it can cause yellowed teeth and bad breath.
For that fresh, clean smile, flossing is the way to go!
Brushing Your Teeth Before Bed
This dental habit is so simple and doesn’t take much time, but it’s often skipped. The later you go to bed at night, the harder it is to get this habit into your routine.
Not brushing your teeth before bed means that the bacteria in your mouth you acquired through your meals that day will sit and break down tooth enamel while you’re sleeping, causing tooth decay and cavities.
Plaque that has been left on teeth will calcify and turn into tartar, which (as mentioned above) is extremely hard to get off your teeth.
If you really struggle to brush your teeth before bed, here are a couple of helpful tips from askthedentist.com that you might try:
1. Keep a toothbrush in your nightstand. No toothpaste is needed. Simply get the toothbrush out at night to gently brush your teeth while lying in bed.
- I might add: “Take a bowl of water to bed with you and place it on your nightstand. You can use this to rinse your toothbrush after you brush your teeth that night. You can worry about pouring out the water in the morning.”
2. Stash floss sticks in your nightstand. If you don’t want to get out of bed again to floss your teeth, at least you’ll have some in your nightstand you can grab to get the job done. Anything to make sure you’ve flossed your teeth.
Another idea to add to your list: Go to bed earlier. If this seems impossible, you’re not alone. This is a struggle for me, too, but if you think about it, going to bed earlier is beneficial for you in a number of ways:
- You’ll get more sleep at night, feeling refreshed the next day.
- This additional sleep is great for your overall health.
- You won’t be too tired to brush and floss your teeth before you go to bed.
Even if you’re just skipping these dental habits every now and then, those “every now and thens” can quickly become habits themselves. Sticking to a routine is important for ensuring these dental steps never get skipped so you can maintain good oral health.
Which dental habit do you skip the most? What steps have you taken to ensure it doesn’t get missed?