Do You Have Oral Health Care Resolutions?
New Year’s is a great time to start making goals for 2020. Commonly people make resolutions regarding their health, fitness, work goals and similar endeavors. Have you thought about the oral health care resolutions you would make as well? How well you take care of your teeth and gums can help determine how great your overall health and wellness is. Here are a few oral health care tips and resolutions you can add to your list this year!
Improve Your Brushing Habits
The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. That includes children and infants that have teeth, which means parents will have to brush for them. Brush after every meal to protect yourself even more from oral health diseases.
You want to brush your teeth each day because you get plaque buildup on the teeth after everything you eat and drink. When you eat, sugars in your food and drinks mix with mouth bacteria. That mixture creates a sticky, acidic substance called “plaque”, and it doesn’t get washed away. In fact, this clear substance adheres to your teeth, especially along the gum line.
Because it’s acidic, it breaks up minerals in your teeth, causing pockets of decay called “cavities”. Once an area of your tooth gets a cavity, that cavity must be removed or decay will spread. Acidic plaque also irritates the gums, causing them to become red, inflamed, swollen and to pull back from the teeth, which can lead to tooth loss.
Brush every single day. Use a soft-bristled brush and ADA-approved toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or whenever the bristles become frayed so you always get the best clean possible. Brush your teeth in all different directions and cover all surfaces to remove acidic plaque. This simple habit only costs you 4 minutes of your entire day, and is the best habit for having good oral health.
Commit to Flossing Every Single Day
If you don’t floss, make a resolution to start now. Studies have found that you miss 40% of your tooth surfaces if you’re not flossing. Brushing simply can’t get into all the cracks of your teeth. Get a new strip of floss (about 18 inches) 1-2 times a day and use it to floss all the way up into your gum line.
Scrape the teeth gently as you move the floss around. If your gums bleed at first and you’re using normal pressure, it’s a sign that oral health problems—specifically early gum disease stage “gingivitis”—is already happening. Correct it by committing to flossing every single day.
Cut Back on Sugar and Soda
There’s no way around it: the more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth produces. If you eat a ton, your teeth will have a lot of acidic plaque buildup. That’s how you can get a bunch of cavities all of the sudden. The American Heart Association recommends that men only have 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of sugar (maximum) a day. Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams), children no more than 6, and infants should have zero teaspoons of sugar.
Don’t forget about hidden sugars that reside in breads, pastas, yogurts, smoothies and more. You can drink several days’ worth of sugar in just one soda, so be aware of this. Even though it’s a soda, a juice, or other liquid, the sugar still sticks to the teeth. Limit sugar and soda both if you want to cut down your likelihood of cavities. Soda is a real kicker, as it contains tons of sugar and the carbonation comes from carbonic acid, which erodes and decays the teeth. Stick to water and milk instead.
Cutting back on sugars goes hand-in-hand with eating healthier. When you choose sugar foods, your teeth lose minerals that make them strong. If you eat and drink dairy products, however, your teeth can gain back a lot of those minerals. Have a diet higher in protein, fruits and veggies, and dairy products and your oral health will improve.
This is a biggie when it comes to good oral health. You can’t really keep your teeth healthy if you use tobacco products. The products set into the teeth and cause decay. You also have intense staining with tobacco that won’t come off with normal teeth whitening. Tobacco also will kill or damage nerve cells and blood vessels in your gums, which can lead to tooth loss quickly. Kick the habit if you want good oral health.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Did you know that you should be visiting your dentist at least twice a year? This recommendation comes straight from the ADA and countless health institutions. Most insurances even cover biannual dental visits because your oral health is so important. Visit the dentist twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. These simple dental visits are ones where we can find the presence of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral diseases when they are just starting. It makes fixing those issues so easy compared to letting a problem go for years.
Good oral health is founded on simple, small habits done each day. You don’t even have to achieve all of these goals at once. That’s why they’re called resolutions: they are goals you are working towards. Start with one or two of these habits, incorporate them into your life, then add in more as you get better at taking care of your oral health.
There are so many other aspects of having healthy teeth and gums and every one is something that is easy for our patients to achieve. To learn more tips about taking care of your oral health and to see what services we offer to help patients achieve that perfect smile, call Dr. Ania’s office today at (303) 872-9940!