With the start of the new year in just a few days, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions. What better resolution could there be, following the holiday season, than restoring your teeth after the holiday binge? I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a few too many sweets this Christmas…
Here are a few dental resolutions to consider for your New Year’s list:
1. Regular Dental Visits
This year could be the year you do see the dentist as often as you should (twice a year). Get the year started out right with a routine dental visit. Schedule an appointment with your dentist, or find a new dentist, for dental x-rays and a cleaning.
Routine visits to the dentist can help prevent oral disease, reveal existing or potential problems or just give your teeth a fresh cleaning—your dentist can reach the plaque buildup you’ve been missing in your daily dental routine.
Not only can dental visits protect your oral health, they can save you a lot of money in the long run. Waiting for issues to arise could mean more extensive, and expensive, procedures that are needed for your oral health. Going to the dentist every six months can mean catching those problems sooner and receiving quick and less expensive solutions.
2. Commit to Your Daily Dental Habits
We all get off track with our tooth-brushing habits at some point, particularly during the holiday season when we stray from our normal routine. Re-establishing and committing to your daily dental habits is a great resolution for the new year.
Remember, you should be:
- Brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time
- Flossing at least once a day
- Using mouthwash at least once a day
3. Improve Your Dental Hygiene Technique
Are you brushing and flossing your teeth correctly? Believe me when I say, you can have a tooth-brushing technique you think is right only to find out you’ve been missing some key areas of the mouth where plaque builds up.
Don’t be afraid to ask about good tooth-brushing and flossing techniques, even if you’re 60 years old! It’s never too late to learn something new. (Although the sooner you learn about proper dental techniques, the better off you’ll be).
Below are a few resources that can help:
4. Watch Your Diet
Dieting isn’t just a New Year’s resolution that benefits your overall health. Diets that cut out or cut down on sweets and sugary beverages can be just as good for your dental health as it is for your overall health. To improve your diet so it’s good for both your overall health and your dental health, make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. You’ll also want to work on taming that sweet tooth!
5. Quit Smoking
It may be time to finally kick the habit. Smoking isn’t just bad for your overall health; it’s bad for your dental health, too. People who smoke double their risk for gum disease and increase their likelihood for tooth discoloration, cavities, gum recession, and throat, lung and oral cancer. These risks can also lead to tooth loss.
If you decide you want to quit this year, pick a date you’re going to give it up, get rid of all tobacco products so you won’t be tempted and ask family and friends to hold you accountable and help you stop smoking. You’ll want their support.
There are several tools you can use to help you stop smoking—progress-tracking apps, the patch, smoking cessation groups, etc.
6. Trim Down Your Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol can negatively affect your dental health, as well. Unlike with smoking, you don’t have to cut out alcohol consumption, altogether, but you should consider cutting back. A study by the Academy of General Dentistry found that people who consume excessive alcohol have an increased risk for gum recession.
The study identified that people who regularly consume alcohol are less likely to brush their teeth regularly, which can lead to several dental health issues.
7. Drink More Water
Just like with your diet, if you add more water into your diet, you’ll see benefits to your dental health, as well as your overall health.
So this year, make a New Year’s resolution to drink more water. You should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. When you concentrate on meeting that goal everyday, it will be easy to get that water intake.
Not only will drinking more water help you eat better and consume less sugar; it will also help wash away bacteria left on your teeth throughout the day, which will result in a decreased risk for cavities and tooth decay.
8. Get Specific Dental Treatments
Have you been putting off that tooth filling or root canal? Get it taken care of at the start of the year. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist for that specific procedure or treatment. Worried about the cost? Talk to your dentist about a payment plan for your treatment, or purchase a discount dental plan to help you save at the dentist.
9. Quit the Habits that Are Bad for Your Teeth
- Nail biting
- Opening bottles with your teeth
- Playing sports without a mouthguard
- Chewing ice
Each of these can damage your teeth and cause a dental emergency. Resolve to quit these habits this year to protect your dental health.
Did any of these New Year’s resolutions resonate with you? Which ones would you like to include on your list at the start of the new year? Tell us in the comments below!