The New Year is a time for new beginnings. It’s a time to set resolutions and goals for the year ahead. If you’re like most people, your list probably includes some fitness-related goals and maybe even a few personal ones. But what about your dental health? Here are New Year’s dental resolutions that will help keep your smile healthy and bright all year long.
1) Brush and floss daily.
Your dental health starts with at-home oral care. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, as well as flossing once a day. If you’re not already doing this, consider adding it to your New Year’s resolutions list.
To help keep your teeth healthy, you should also brush your tongue (or use a tongue scraper). Bacteria and plaque can accumulate on your tongue, which can cause bad breath.
2) See your dentist.
Regular dental cleanings and checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, make an appointment today.
Dental professionals recommend that you should see your dentist at least twice per year (every six months), but if you have any specific concerns, such as gum disease, you may need to visit more often.
3) Eat a healthy diet.
What you eat and drink can impact your dental health. Sugary foods and drinks are bad for your teeth because they feed the bacteria that live in plaque, which produces acids that attack tooth enamel. These acids cause decay and cavities over time, so limiting how much sugar you consume each day is important.
In addition to avoiding sugary foods and drinks, try to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods are good for your teeth because they contain nutrients like vitamin C and A that help keep your gums healthy.
If you’re not sure what a healthy diet looks like, talk to your dentist or nutritionist. They can give you specific recommendations based on your individual needs.
4) Quit smoking.
Smoking is terrible for your health and can cause many problems, including an increased risk of dental issues like gum disease and oral cancer. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting in the new year. It’s never too late to quit smoking and improve your overall health by doing so.
If you need help quitting, many resources are available to assist you. For example, the American Cancer Society offers a free online Quitline that provides counseling and support for those who want to quit smoking.
In addition, your dentist can recommend local programs or groups that meet regularly with other smokers who are also trying to quit. They may even have medications they can prescribe to help you stop smoking.
5) Wear a mouthguard.
Mouthguards are an important part of oral safety. They protect your teeth and gums from injuries caused by contact sports or activities like skateboarding, biking, and skiing.
If you’re involved in any activities that could potentially cause dental injuries, it’s a good idea to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards are available at most sporting goods stores, and your dentist can also recommend one for you.
6) Limit your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol can be bad for your teeth because it dries out the mouth, which leads to tooth decay and cavities over time. If you drink too much alcohol regularly, consider cutting back in the new year. You’ll be doing yourself (and your smile) a favor by limiting how often and how much you drink alcohol each week.
Alcohol also makes it harder for your body to fight off infections, so if you have an oral health problem (such as gum disease), drinking could make things worse. Try limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day and brushing after enjoying alcoholic beverages with meals.