It’s the start of a new year and you may be thinking about goals and what you want to achieve. New Year’s resolutions like losing weight or saving money are common. However, these are not the only things you can aspire to. This year, put a greater focus on your dental health. Check out these simple tips for achieving a more beautiful and healthier smile in the new year.
Let Go of Bad Habits
It can be tough to stop engaging in bad habits, especially if you’ve been doing them for many years. Biting your nails, chewing ice cubes, grinding your teeth, brushing too hard, and the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products can cause extensive harm to your teeth and gums. Tobacco products can also increase your risk of developing lung, throat, and oral cancers.
Here’s a list of some common bad habits that can damage teeth and their solutions:
- Nail Biting – Apply a bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails which will help discourage biting. If your nail-biting habit is caused by stress, engage in stress-reducing activities, such as meditation.
- Brushing Too Hard – Aggressive brushing can irritate the gums and wear away the enamel on your teeth. If you haven’t already, switch to a soft toothbrush and focus on gently ‘massaging’ the teeth, rather than scrubbing.
- Grinding/Clenching – Grinding and clenching your teeth can result in cracking or chipping, as well as muscle tenderness and joint pain. If you grind at night, consider wearing a mouthguard to bed. Relaxation exercises can also help.
- Chewing Ice – Chewing ice cubes can cause damage to the tooth itself, or sometimes to tooth fillings. If you’re tempted to chew ice, leave it out of your beverages or use a straw to avoid direct contact.
- Excessive Snacking – Frequent snacking throughout the day, especially when these snacks are made up of sugary foods or drinks, can significantly raise your risk for cavities. Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you feel like snacking, opt for a low-fat, low-sugar option.
- Teeth as Tools – Some people have the habit of using their teeth as tools, such as using your teeth to open or tear things. This can cause your teeth to crack or your jaw to suffer injury. The solution for this is to simply stop the behavior and find another tool for the job.
Focus on Nutrition
What you eat plays a major role in the health of your teeth. Poor nutrition can negatively impact the entire immune system and increase a person’s susceptibility to many common oral health conditions, such as gum disease.
Antioxidants, which are found in high amounts in fresh fruits and vegetables, help fight bad bacteria and prevent inflammation. Snacking on crunchy fruits and veggies, such as celery, apples, and carrots, can also help freshen your breath and clean plaque from the teeth.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
While the occasional drink usually won’t hurt, too much alcohol can have an adverse effect on your health. People who drink alcohol frequently tend to have higher dental plaque levels and are more likely to experience tooth loss.
Regular alcohol consumption can also result in staining due to the chromogens that color these beverages. Staining can also occur due to the fluids you use to mix your drinks, such as dark-colored soft drinks.
Drinking alcohol has also been found to cause dry mouth. When the mouth doesn’t have enough saliva to keep it moist, it is not able to effectively remove plaque and harmful bacteria from the tooth surface.
Establish Good Habits
It can sometimes be hard to remember to brush and floss but it’s one of the most important things you can do to maintain your smile. This coming year, making it a priority to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
Brushing and flossing help protect the teeth from tooth decay and gum disease. When you eat or drink, your teeth develop an invisible film of bacteria that can only be removed with proper brushing and flossing.
Visit Your Dentist in Largo, FL
While the foundation for good dental health and wellness begins at home, it’s also important to see your dentist for regular checkups. To schedule an appointment with our experts, contact Bonham Dental Arts.