A New Year, A Healthier You
The new year is right around the corner. The holidays are in full force. Family, friends, and desserts galore. This time of year is about splurging and enjoying what you love in life. The first of the new year is also a prime time to make goals to better your life.
Check out these four New Year’s resolutions that’ll keep you and your smile happy and healthy in 2018.
1. Schedule a dental checkup.
I know, I know. Schedule a dentist appointment now? Life is busy and money is tight. And I know what you’re thinking: Yes, I will make an appointment and yes, I will go after the new year and yeah, I definitely need to because I haven’t in way too long. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to the American Dental Association, roughly a third of Americans do not visit the dentist on a regular basis. So here’s step one: call today and make an appointment for a month out.
Most health plan deductibles reset on the first of January, but if you wait till then, you may be waitlisted a few months. Dental visits should be approximately every six months. We recommend scheduling your next visit before you leave their office. They’ll send you a reminder and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
2. Floss once a day.
This one has probably been on everyone’s resolution list at least once. Although brushing twice a day is a must, most toothbrushes fail to completely remove plaque from in between your teeth. Becoming a regular flosser will not only improve your oral health, but will vastly decrease the chances of extensive dental care in your future. This is because flossing reduces the amount of plaque buildup on our teeth.
We all know plaque is by no means welcome in our mouths. Plaque contains bacteria which feed on the leftover food and sugars on and in between teeth. These bacteria release an acid that slowly eat away the outer shell of our teeth, causing cavities. Plaque that has not been brushed or flossed away eventually hardens, turning into a matter called tartar, and can become gum disease if not removed by a dentist.
3. Reduce your sugar intake.
This one can be a real challenge especially with all those leftover holiday treats in your fridge. We’re not saying get rid of sugar entirely, just begin to reduce the amount you consume. BMC Public Health released results stating the clear connection between sugar and tooth decay. Tooth decay is the leading cause of tooth loss, especially in young people. Unfortunately, everyone is at risk of tooth decay if the certain dental practices are not in place.
Start slow and make gradual changes. Replace soda with sparkling water or kombucha. Make a switch to sugarless gum. Limit your desserts to after dinner. Cutting back on sweets is no fun, but it beats a future of missing teeth and expansive dental care.
4. Quit smoking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, constant use of tobacco products doubles your risk of gum disease. Typically your mouth heals extremely fast as it is constantly shedding layers. However, smoking weakens your immune system, making it difficult for your mouth to fight off infections. Gum disease affects and weakens the bone structures securing your teeth. Lack of intervention may eventually cause gums to pull away from your teeth and in severe instances cause teeth to fall out.
Kicking the habit can be extremely tough, so it is important to find healthy alternatives when the cravings begin. Support from friends and family are also a must. Remember, there are ample online tools to help and your general practitioner will gladly aid in any way possible.
More about the author…
Dr. Dane Dudley was born and raised in Southern California. He attended UCSB where he received a degree in Developmental Biology. He went on to study at NYU College of Dentistry and graduated with honors in implant dentistry. Dr. Dudley then continued his training at UCLA where he completed a residency in Advanced Education in General Dentistry…
American Dental Association: “Dental Care Concerns”
BMC Public Health: “Relationship Between Sugars and Dental Caries”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss”