Add a Better Smile to Your Resolution List
Studies show that health and fitness are the major areas that people want to improve when it comes to New Years resolutions. However, many don’t realize the connection between their oral health and overall health. The better you take care of your teeth and gums, the more your body benefits and the healthier you can become. When it gets hard to hit the gym in 2019, you can at least know you are taking steps towards better health when you follow these tips for better oral health!
Resolutions for a Better Smile
When you think of chronic illnesses in the United States, do you think of any that involve your oral health? Many don’t. However, the National Institutes of Health report that tooth decay—which you know as “cavities”—is the #1 chronic disease that Americans face. Many don’t even realize that they may have this disease, or that it is a disease at all. Because cavities are areas of your teeth that have died, and that decay can spread, it’s like other diseases. You have to stop the problem and get it under control or it spreads.
Too many people are affected by tooth decay and gum disease worldwide. Gum disease is a condition where the gums swell, become red, bleed and recede from the gums enough to have the teeth fall out. This condition goes hand-in-hand with cavities, as they all start with eating and not keeping your teeth clean. However, gum disease—which affects 64.7 million American adults—is completely preventable. So are cavities. Because of this, you can definitely make some simple resolutions for a better smile in 2019.
How Can You Improve?
The great thing about getting a better smile, is that it’s something you can work towards easily, every single day. How? Start by brushing and flossing your teeth! These are such easy habits that dentists tell patients they should have every time they come into the office. Because they are so easy and simple, some patients may assume that they aren’t that important. However, they make all the difference to your oral health.
Brushing should be done at least twice a day, if not after every meal, as recommended by the American Dental Association. Why? When you eat, sugars in your foods and drinks will mix with your mouth bacteria to make plaque. That plaque is a sticky, acidic film that will stick to your teeth. If it’s left on there, it will break up the minerals in your teeth and will decay them over time. Plaque also causes your gums to recede, which can lead to mushy, bleeding gums and tooth loss. Simply brushing your teeth gets rid of that plaque and your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. It’s that simple!
Brushing should be done with a new toothbrush that fits the size of your mouth. Switch out your toothbrush once it’s been about 3 months or if the bristles of your toothbrush start to become frayed. Use fluoride toothpaste, which can help provide you a stronger shield against acidic plaque.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Brushing isn’t the only habit you should have. People may brush, but they can often forget the other basics of good oral hygiene like flossing the teeth and visiting the dentist. Flossing is something every patient can improve on, as it’s something many aren’t doing correctly or at all. Get about 18 inches of new floss when you do floss, and devote 2-3 inches of that floss to every few teeth in your mouth.
Wind the floss around either your two pointer fingers or your two middle fingers, with about 2 inches of space to floss with. Floss up into your gum line, where your gums make a small triangle shape. As you floss, scrape the floss against your teeth gently to remove extra plaque. This is a small habit you can incorporate into your oral hygiene routine in 2019, or something you can improve on if you already floss. Floss 1-2 times a day, and don’t forget it! This step gets about 40% of your tooth surfaces that brushing simply misses, so you can get 100% of your teeth with both brushing and flossing.
Adding mouthwash to your routine is easy as well. This small basic can kill mouth bacteria that would become plaque. Reduced bacteria means less plaque, less decay and a better smile. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that can help strengthen the teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste or fluoride treatments from time-to-time can help your teeth stay stronger.
Don’t forget to schedule in your dental visits in 2019! The recommendation is for 2 visits each year, where we can do comprehensive dental exams and cleanings on your teeth. You can be doing all the basics at home, and still get a cavity depending on your health and what you eat. However, if you go to your dental visits, we can find cavities and gum issues when they are tiny and fix them easily.
As you can see, good oral health is founded on simple, small habits done each day. If you want better oral health and overall health, simply add these habits into your day or improve how you do them. To schedule your dental visits or for more tips on getting a better smile, call Dr. Ania’s office today at (303) 872-9940!