When making your New Year’s resolutions this year, do you write down any resolutions for your dental health? Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions have to do with health and fitness. However, your dental health is actually a major contributing factor to your overall health. This year, prepare to smile more and have better overall health with these 10 healthy smile resolutions:
What you eat will directly affect the health of your teeth and gums. When you eat, acids and bacteria in your saliva begin to break down your food for energy and digestion. However, sugars in your foods and drinks will mix with certain mouth bacteria to create a sticky, acidic substance called plaque. That clear substance sticks to your teeth, and because it’s acidic, it will begin to break up the minerals in your teeth, decaying them.
The more sugar and acids you eat, the more acidic plaque your mouth makes and the more your teeth decay. To combat this for a healthy smile, try:
Brushing your teeth is one of the most important habits you can have if you want to have a healthy smile and strong teeth. However, not enough people are brushing their teeth each day, nor are they doing it correctly. For example, studies show that millennials alone only see about 3 in 10 brushing their teeth each day–yikes!
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes every time. You should brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle in a gentle, back-and-forth motion. Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your teeth, including along the gum line where sticky plaque often accumulates. When cleaning the inner teeth, turn your toothbrush into a vertical position and scrub in an up-and-down motion to remove extra food. Make sure that you brush your tongue each night, as well, since it’s a common place for bacteria build up.
If you skip flossing, you miss 40% of tooth surfaces that would otherwise be clean. Measure out 18 inches of floss every time you floss (1-2 times a day). Wrap it around your middle and index fingers and position the floss between 2 teeth. Slide it up and down until plaque or debris comes off.
Make sure you don’t force floss into a tight spot where you could cut your gums. Curve the floss around your tooth and go all the way up in the gum line, gently scraping the teeth as you go to remove plaque buildup. Do this to all your teeth. Brushing and flossing properly will significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
Don’t know what products to buy? Check the labels! Products that have been proven to be effective against tooth decay will have an ADA Seal of Acceptance on the label. This means the product has been found effective to help combat oral health diseases.
Choose floss, mouthwash, toothbrushes, fluoride and other products that have this Seal. Avoid dollar store oral care products, which may come from countries with different oral care standards or rules. Most people will want to choose a “soft” toothbrush (which will be labeled on the package) to avoid dental erosion. You can always call our office to find out what products and brands we trust the most for a healthy smile!
No matter how healthy you are, you need biannual dental exams and cleanings. These services are vital to avoid decay and disease that can spread quickly in the mouth. A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning of your teeth by a dental hygienist. They can remove stuck-on tartar, plaque, and debris you can’t clean on your own. Dental checkups will also involve x-ray imaging (or something similar), screenings, and an examination by the dentist to check for current decay, receding gums, oral diseases, sores and more.
An oral cancer screening should be a quick part of your check-up appointment with your dentist. The dentist will check all the hard and soft tissues of your mouth for abnormalities. This includes the skin around your neck, cheeks and face to check for lumps or irregularities in muscles and tissues.
Inside the mouth, we will check for sores, white spots, or changes in gum tissue that shouldn’t be there. It’s easy to spot the early signs of deadly oral cancer. Doing so will significantly reduce your risk for death and cancer progression. Ask about this screening at your next appointment for a healthy smile!
An easy way to strengthen your teeth is to drink water! Public water sources in the U.S. are enhanced with fluoride, which is a naturally-occurring mineral in the earth. It is proven to help provide a shield for the teeth against acids and plaque, keeping minerals in the teeth strong. Mouthwash contains fluoride and germ-fighting materials to keep your breath fresh and your smile healthy..
Crooked teeth are much harder to keep clean. We have Invisalign orthodontic treatment to help straighten crooked teeth, reducing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. This service, as well as dental bridges, dental implants, cosmetic bonding, and porcelain veneers are all options to give you a healthy smile. To learn more about our cosmetic services or for more healthy smile tips, call Mountain Aire Dentistry at (303) 731-7755!