Not everyone does New Year’s resolutions. But if you’re among the 40% of Americans that make a New Year’s resolution, each year, you may be considering your ideas right now.
Well, let us put a bug in your ear about possible resolutions this year. Here are some of the resolutions that will help improve your oral health in the coming year, making you happier and healthier all year long.
Flossing is a vital way to protect your oral health. It removes plaque and trapped food from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach, which may be as much as 40% of the surface area of some teeth. Flossing can help you avoid gum disease, and it can also protect your heart health and help you avoid many types of chronic illness.
Despite, this, only about 30% of Americans floss every day. That’s less than the number (32%) who say they never floss. So if you’re looking for a resolution that will help improve your oral health, flossing is an easy one.
When it comes to good oral health, people are generally doing better with brushing than with flossing. Nearly 70% of Americans brush their teeth the recommended two times a day. If you’re not in that 70%, you should definitely brush more often in the new year. But if you already brush twice a day, should you do more?
That depends. It’s not a bad idea to brush after eating or snacking, but you have to be careful. In general, it’s best to make sure you’re waiting to brush after eating high-acid foods that soften your tooth enamel. Also make sure you’re not overusing toothpaste, which can abrade your tooth enamel (though we suggest some toothpastes that aren’t too abrasive).
We know: losing weight is typically the top New Year’s resolution (sometimes second if you count “staying fit” as something else, though if we’re honest, staying fit means losing weight for most of us). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Just because it’s popular doesn’t make it wrong.
Your oral health and your overall health influence one another. Just as your oral health can impact your heart health, your weight can influence your oral health. Studies have shown that obese individuals are 50% more likely to lose a tooth and 25% more likely to lose all their teeth. We’re not sure whether this is is exactly related to obesity or diet.
But the good news is that losing weight will often lead to diet changes that will improve your oral health. Cutting out sugary foods, eating fewer between-meal snacks, and eating more vegetables are all great ways to lose weight and improve your oral health. Talk about a twofer!
Quitting smoking is potentially the most important thing you can do for your oral health. It might even be bigger than flossing. But it’s also one of the hardest resolutions to keep. More than half of all smokers try to quit each year, but only about 20% of those who try succeed.
It’s important to note that really quitting smoking means you don’t substitute it for another bad habit. Nicotine gum is less harmful than cigarettes, but it still isn’t good for your oral health. And vaping–while not as bad as smoking–carries its own oral health risks.
Drink Less Soda
Sodas are sugary and acidic. They damage your teeth while providing few benefits. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just trying to stay healthier, drinking less soda is a great way to achieve your health goals.
And your teeth will definitely thank you.
Drink Less Alcohol (or Quit Altogether)
Alcohol is also bad for your oral health. Often, alcohol is mixed into sweet or acidic cocktails. Wines (especially sparkling white wines) are among the most acidic drinks commonly consumed.
And alcohol itself is bad for your oral health. It has been associated with higher risks of gum disease and oral cancer. Plus, if you tend to overindulge, you may neglect oral hygiene, or get ill, which can damage your teeth.
Let Us Be Part of Your Healthier, Happier New Year
If you’re in Las Vegas looking for a dentist who can help you achieve, maintain, or restore good oral health, then we’d love to welcome you to our practice in the New Year. Please call (702) 873-0324 today for an appointment with Dr. James B. Polley.