We are moving into 2021 with hopes and aspirations of making it a great year. Many of us make resolutions as we contemplate making changes that impact our relationships, finances, and even our health.
While millions make resolutions to lose weight, eat better, and practice better self-care, few of us give thought to creating better dental health. The reality is, the health of your teeth is intimately connected to the health of your body; taking care of your oral health will help to safeguard all aspects of your health in the future.
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Wondering what to do?
Are you wondering what to do about improving your dental health? In addition to a trip to the dentist, here are some healthy habits you can begin to establish at home to create optimal oral health for you and your family:
1. Make brushing the foundation
Brushing your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes should be the foundation of your home dental care. Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste and soft-bristled brush as you commit to cleaning the darkest recesses, where bacteria and food particles hide out and create decay over time. Parents, make sure you are teaching your children about proper technique when brushing; inspect their efforts diligently to ensure that they are setting up good habits as well.
2. Floss daily
Never underestimate the power of a good flossing–regular flossing after brushing helps to do double duty on some of those tighter corners and crevices in your mouth. Often, brushing will not do the job alone when cleaning in between teeth; an extra pass through with floss will ensure that these hard to reach places are also tended to.
3. Clean up the diet
Sugary, sticky, and overly acidic snacks cause tooth decay. Conversely, calcium and phosphorous-rich foods are known to strengthen tooth enamel. A diet rich in fresh produce, quality protein, whole grains, and plenty of fresh clean water will keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
4. Schedule regular dental check ups
As good as your oral hygiene practice may be at home, it is no substitute for the thorough evaluation that your dentist can give you at least once per year. Ideally, it is good to schedule evaluations and checkups twice a year to prevent decay and evaluate your mouth for conditions that require care.
5. Look for and use products with the ADA seal of approval
The American Dental Association exists for the sole purpose of coming up with best practices for oral care both at home and in professional offices across the country. Looking for and using dental care products with the ADA seal of approval is an extra assurance that you are caring for your teeth in the right way.
6. Avoid DIY dental fads
Activities like oil pulling, using activated charcoal, and tooth whitening kits are best left to the experts. Many of these DIY treatments are not as effective as standard care for your teeth and gums; always seek the advice of your dental health professional before incorporating alternative forms of care into your oral health regime.
7. Ditch the bad habits for better oral health
Activities like teeth grinding, chewing on ice, smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, and using your teeth for stand-in scissors are not good practice for healthy teeth long term. Begin to notice and break these bad habits now, and you’ll enjoy healthy and strong teeth for years to come.
Smile! You’re setting yourself up for success!
With the implementation of these healthy habits, you’ll be able to smile with confidence, you’ll enjoy the strength and use of healthy teeth, and you’ll be safeguarding your overall health and wellness for years to come.