Did you know that your oral health has a direct correlation with your overall health? Any oral health issue you have, big or small, can affect your health in another part of your body; and vice versa, a health problem you may have in another part of your body can manifest warning signs, and cause oral health issues, in your mouth.
This is why it is just as important to pay attention to your oral health as well as your general health; and what better time to start than the beginning of the New Year?
Here are four ways to improve your oral health in 2017:
Aim to Improve Your Oral Health Routine. One of the simplest ways to ensure oral health is to maintain a regular oral health routine. Make sure you brush for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily (preferably in the evening, to clean out the food particles and bacteria buildup from the day). Replace your toothbrush when the bristles become frayed, which should be about every 3 months or so.
Create Healthier Eating (and Drinking) Habits. Begin eating healthier and limit snacking in between meals. Carbohydrates, along with sugary and/or acidic foods and beverages, react with the bacteria in our mouths, promoting tooth decay. A quick post-snack brushing will help clear out some of the food particles that can lead to tooth decay. If you can’t brush after your snack, then try chewing a sugar-free gum that has xylitol in it. Xylitol is a naturally occurring plant-based alcohol that is used as an artificial sweetener in gums and mints. It reduces the levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva and can also help prevent dry mouth.
Say No to Tobacco. New Year, new you, right? So NOW is the time to quit! Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and even the new e-cigarettes are all bad for your oral (and overall) health. Period. There are tons of tools out there to help you quit: prescriptions, over-the-counter aids, support groups, apps, etc. You can do it!
Let Your Dentist Help Improve Your Smile. Restorative procedures like getting braces, crowns, fillings, implants, etc. improve your oral health a great deal. Abnormal bites, crooked and/or crowded teeth, cavities and missing teeth will all lead to worse problems down the road if they are ignored. Cosmetic procedures, like whitening or veneers, improve your confidence and happiness along with your smile, and that’s something that is priceless.
As always, the most important thing you can do to better your oral health is to visit your dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and checkup. Your dentist will be able to spot the onset of any oral health issues and treat them before they progress into something worse.