New Year, New You!
We hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve and that 2016 is already off to a wonderful start. The start of the year means a clean state, a fresh start, and lots of excitement for the year to come! It’s the perfect time to make changes, big or small, to your life to make this your best year yet! Here are 10 easy tips and tricks that you can do to improve yourself and your smile.
1. Stop Snacking
Constant snacking, especially on sugary foods and drinks, is an easy way to blow your diet and also puts you at risk for cavities. The level of acid increases each time in your mouth for a short while after you eat. This, in addition to food residue, creates a perfect environment for cavity causing bacteria to flourish. Eat balanced meals (don’t skip!) and if you must snack, choose something high in protein and low in carbs/sugar
2. Cut back on Soda
Giving up soda is an easy way to cut back on sugar and calories. Frequent consumption of acidic or sugary drinks increase decay rates dramatically. Instead, opt for flavored water or tea for a healthier alternative.
We don’t drink enough in the day, especially with the colder weather. Water is the healthiest beverage for your smile and your body. In the new year, many of us are heading back to the gym. Athletes are especially at risk because of the effects of sports drinks. When you head to the gym, make sure that you bring a bottle of water and make sure to finish it after your workout.
4. Take a moment to breathe
Busy, stressful schedules can lead to grinding, clenching, and TMJ pain. Make sure to take some time for yourself to slow down and breathe. Find something that helps you relax at the end of the day, like watching Netflix, yoga, or pouring yourself a warm cup of your favorite tea. A mouthguard worn at night can help prevent tooth damage and muscle soreness.
5. Quit Smoking
As we all know, the effects of smoking can lead to serious health complications for both your body and your teeth! Smoking contributes to gum disease, bone loss, and oral cancer. Smokers tend to have dark, discolored teeth and are more likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s the best thing you can do for your health. If you haven’t kicked the habit yet, now’s the time!
6. Stop using your teeth as tools
Please! This does not need explanation. Teeth are not meant to be used to break ice cubes, open beer bottles, or trim your nails. These habits put you at risk for breaking your teeth or injuring your jaw.
7. Get a new tooth brush
When was the last time you changed your tooth brush? The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Old, worn out toothbrushes harbor bacteria and clean less effectively.
8. Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing and flossing your teeth are the most effective things you can do to take care of your smile. If you don’t brush and floss as recommended, plaque can develop on and between teeth causing decay and gum disease, which can in turn lead to other health problems. We recommend brushing twice and flossing once each day. Time to step up your oral hygiene in 2016!
9. But don’t brush too hard
Brushing with a hard toothbrush, brushing too hard, or brushing incorrectly can damage teeth and irritate gums. If you are using a manual toothbrush, be sure to use a soft one and brush at a 45 degree angle (see picture above). If you want to use an electric toothbrush, we recommend the Rotadent brush which is only sold at dental offices, including ours!
10. Visit the dentist regularly!
Don’t forget to come in for your checkups and cleanings. Regular appointments allow your dentist to monitor your dental health and address any concerns before they become bigger, more serious problems. If you haven’t done so yet, give us a call to schedule an appointment!