Five resolutions for healthy teeth

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, December 31, 2017

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WE all make new year resolutions, but many of us are not likely to follow through. Turning over a new leaf in the new year can be tricky, but finding a way to stick with it is important when that new leaf benefits your health.

If you want to take better care when looking after your teeth and gums next year, these five resolutions can keep you diligent:

Schedule a dental appointment

If it's been a while since you've seen a dentist, you're not alone. Booking an appointment is one of the most important things you can do when looking after your teeth.

By seeing your dentist at least twice a year, you can help prevent any dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. According to research, some conditions — such as sensitivity in the teeth or bleeding gums — are sure signs that it's time to see a dentist. Even if your teeth look and feel fine, schedule an appointment.

Commit to flossing

Brushing your teeth twice a day isn't enough to keep plaque from building up on your teeth, or to completely remove bits of food from your mouth. To take the best care of your teeth, you need to floss too. If you're not in the habit of flossing, the new year is a great time to start.

Cut back on sugar

A study published in September 2014 confirmed a direct link between the amount of sugar a person eats and the amount of tooth decay he or she has. Cutting back on sugar can cut your risk for tooth decay considerably.

The most convenient way to cut back on sugar is to reduce the number of sugary treats you buy. Simple swaps will help you cut back as well: Drink sugar-free seltzer water instead of soda, or chew a piece of sugar-free gum when you have a craving for something sweet.

Kick the habit

Smoking doubles your risk for gum disease and is linked to a host of other health issues. Pick a date to give up the habit, get rid of all the tobacco products from your home, and solicit the support of your friends and family to help you quit.

There will be cravings along the way, so it's important to find a healthy activity to engage in when a craving kicks in. Feel free to see your general practitioner if you struggle to curb the addiction by yourself.

Eat more mouth-healthy foods

When you cut back on sugar, resolve to add more orally healthy foods to your diet to solidify your diet's benefit to your teeth. Dairy products, which are high in calcium, are great for your teeth, as are fibrous foods that call up saliva and scrub away plaque and other food bits.

For this new year, resolve to treat your mouth right — your teeth and your body will thank you for it!

Take things one step at a time, and if you forget to floss one day or eat a big piece of caramel the next, don't give up. Remember that there's always tomorrow!




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