New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier, Happier Mouth! With your Portland, OR General Dentist
Updated: Sep 3
2020 is almost over, finally! It’s been an extremely strange and challenging year, but we’re ready to turn the page and start a new, brighter chapter in 2021. Check out our suggestions for a New Year’s Resolution to help you kick off 2021 with a healthier, happier smile!
The truth is, we always know when our patients are fudging the truth about how often they floss - the proof is all over your gums and teeth! Sticky, bacteria-laden plaque is constantly forming on and between teeth, and can harden into tartar in as little as 48 hours - hugely increasing your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Plus, once you have tartar buildup, it can’t be removed without a dentist or hygienist. Brushing alone only cleans 60% of our teeth’s surfaces, while flossing takes care of the remaining 40%. We know it can be tough getting into the habit of flossing every day, but sticking to it will reap long term benefits for your oral health throughout 2021 and beyond!
Don’t Rush: Brush for 2 Minutes/2x a Day
A lot of people rush through brushing their teeth - the average tooth brushing time is only about 45 seconds, which is less than half the recommended time! Make it your New Year’s Resolution to brush for the full 2 minutes twice a day, making sure to thoroughly clean all sides and surfaces of each tooth in your mouth. Out of the 1440 minutes we have every single day, brushing only takes 4! We can all take 4 minutes out of each day to brush, and it will go a long way to preventing cavities while giving you a brighter, healthier smile.
Kick the Habit
Quitting smoking is a very common New Year’s Resolution, and for good reason. Smoke and tobacco use of ALL kinds -yes, even vapes- have well-researched, tremendous health risks to our bodies and mouth. In the mouth alone, tobacco use hugely increases your risk of: stained teeth, bad breath, cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and throat, lung and oral cancers.
Tips for quitting: Set a date to give up the habit, get rid of all tobacco products from your home, ask your friends and family for support, and plan ahead and find healthy activities to engage in when a craving kicks in. Consider using an app like QuitNow! or Smoke Free. And don’t be afraid to see your general practitioner about getting help to quit. You got this!
Another popular New Year’s Resolution is to eat better, and we stand by this one 100%.
Eat plenty of fruits and veggies: Powerful antioxidants and nutrients in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts help our bodies’ ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, which helps protect teeth and gums. Plus, crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and carrots help scrub plaque from teeth and freshen breath.
Cut back on foods and drinks with added sugar, and drink lots of water. There is a direct link between the amount of sugar consumed and the amount of tooth decay (cavities) a person has. Try simple swaps, like drinking sugar-free flavored sparkling water instead of soda, and chewing on sugar-free gum when a sweets craving hits.
Drink lots of water: Water is essential to the proper function of literally every single part of our bodies, and drinking fluoridated water in particular helps keep teeth strong and resistant against cavities. Sipping water after eating or drinking is also a great habit to get into - it helps rinse away food debris and sugars from your teeth.
For this new year, resolve to treat your mouth right -- your smile and your body will thank you for it in 2021, and for years to come!
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