Updated: Dec 18, 2018
What does the New Year mean for you?
We all make New Year's resolutions, but statistically speaking, most of us fail within the first month. 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 this year, take a look at these five resolutions that may help you through 2016.
1) Schedule a Dental Appointment
If you have not seen a dentist in some time, you are not alone. About one third of people in Britain don’t actually visit the dentist every 6 months. However booking this appointment is one of the most important things you can do when looking after your teeth. According to the experts, some conditions such as sensitivity or bleeding gums are sure signs that it's time to see a dentist. Even if your teeth look and feel fine, make that call today for a routine check-up.
To make the process of scheduling visits easier, book your next one before you leave so you have it pre planned in your calendar for the next time.
2) 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 food partials 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.
One way to make it easier to remember, is putting a container of floss on top of or directly next to your toothbrush. Position the container so that you have to touch it when taking your toothbrush/toothpaste out of the drawer or cabinet. Maybe even have another container of floss in your purse or drawer at work so that you can floss on the go if you forget to do it at home.
3) Cut Back on Sugar
Studies carried out confirm a direct link between the amount of sugar a person eats and the amount of tooth decay he/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. While its always best to opt for either milk or water, maybe switch from a sugary drink, to a sugar free alternative or chew a piece of sugar-free gum when you have a craving for something sweet.
4) Kick the Habit
Smoking doubles your risk for gum disease and is linked to a whole 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 GP if you struggle to curb the addiction by yourself.
Not only will your body thank you, so will your teeth and gums. People who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums don't heal. Gum disease is still the most common cause of tooth loss in adults so it is important that you visit your dental team regularly for a normal check-up and a full mouth examination so that any other conditions can be spotted early. You should visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.
People who smoke are more likely to have stained teeth, and therefore may need appointments more often with the dental hygienist.
What can my dentist do for me?
Your dentist will carry out a regular examination to make sure that your teeth, gums and whole mouth are healthy. This involves examining your cheeks, tongue and throat for any signs of other conditions that may need more investigation.
They may also be able to put you in touch with organisations, self-help groups or cessation clinics that will have the latest information to help you stop smoking.
Will I need any extra treatment?
Your dentist may also refer you to a dental hygienist, for extra treatment, thorough cleaning and to keep a closer check on the health of your mouth. Your dental hygienist will be able to advise you on how often you should visit them, although this should usually be every three to six months.
5) Eat More Mouth-Healthy Foods
When you cut back on sugar, try 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 help wash away plaque and other food.
Making your New Year's resolutions as easy as possible to stick with will help you keep them. 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, all is not lost - there's always tomorrow!
For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180