It’s that time of year again. The holidays flew by and January 1st is staring us squarely in the face. If you are anything like me, you may have just over indulged by eating your 3rd full sit-down meal in two days and now, you're feeling a pressing desire to right the ship.
Enter the New Year’s resolutions.
The turn of the calendar offers a fresh slate and with that blank canvas comes new aspirations. For some, it is as easy as getting back on track with a diet or exercise program. For others, it may be the opportunity to refine and take something to the next level, like business or a new degree. Since I have committed my life to the world of oral health and dental care I’ve got a slightly different angle on the good old fashioned resolutions. These are the Dental Solutions 2019 suggested New Year’s resolutions.
Resolution 1: Floss Daily
Recent numbers say that less than 30% of people follow our recommendations and floss every day. Worse than that, 32% of people that said in the same survey they never floss. Really? That’s just crazy talk.
The most common type of adult tooth decay occurs in between teeth and a brush just cannot get in there to clean effectively. Not only does flossing prevent interproximal tooth decay but it can prevent gum disease and bad breath.
It takes 3 weeks of consistent action to form a habit, so make this new year’s resolutions #1. Pick either your morning or night brushing and add flossing to the routine. Do not skip a day for 3 weeks and see how it goes. If you absolutely hate to floss and just refuse, then go out and purchase a water flosser and substitute that.
Resolution 2: Cut Out Sodas and Other Carbonated Beverages
Almost everyone knows that soda is bad for your teeth but let’s briefly discuss just how bad and why.
Let’s start with a basic understanding that acid in our mouth is a bad thing. Acid weakens the outer enamel armor of our teeth and creates the pores that are the beginning of cavities. Traditional sodas throw acid at our teeth in two different ways.
First, the sugars in sodas provide food for the cavity-causing bacteria attached to our teeth. When they combine the byproduct is the big bad acid.
The second prong of the attack is a little sneakier. The fizzy goodness in our sodas is a version of carbonic acid. This means that even the sugar-free diet sodas, and the popular flavored sparkling waters, are bad for our teeth in the same way. It takes our mouth 20 minutes to rebalance to normal pH after the acid is introduced and every sip starts that 20-minute timer over.
Someone that constantly sips on a soda throughout the day has just put themselves in the danger zone for decay all day long. Mountain Dew was the gold standard for soda evil in my day but lately, energy drinks have taken the top spot. There is no greater way to assure tooth decay than a Red Bull a day. Cutting back on soda or out quitting completely will pay off multiple times over.
Resolution 3: Stop Smoking
This one consistently lands on the list of top New Year’s resolutions. Stopping smoking is a great idea for a variety of health reasons, but I’ve got a couple of reasons to add to the list you may not know.
First off, smoking is the number one risk factor for significant gum disease. It is so damaging that it is more important to the treatment of gum disease to quit smoking than it is to brush your teeth. Gum disease is the silent killer of teeth that slowly erodes the bone holding the teeth in place until they are loose and sometimes infected. If you smoke, you will get gum disease, guaranteed.
Second, smoking absolutely increases your risk of developing oral cancer. Oral cancer is rising up the ranks of common cancers. Although prognosis is generally favorable if detected early, we should do everything in our power to avoid significant risk factors. You can live without your jaw/lip/etc but it's not pretty.
Also, in case you were wondering, vaping counts too. The chemicals in nicotine are present if vaping or traditionally smoking - and I’m not even going into the negative effects on breath and odor.
We recognize that quitting smoking is extremely hard and have experience in providing support through the quitting process. If you would like to quit smoking but don’t know where to start, call our office and let us help.
Resolutions 4: Make a Dental Appointment
If it’s been a bit since you’ve had a regular checkup and/or cleaning go ahead and make your appointment today... and keep it. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure when it comes to dental health.
There are no problems in the mouth that become easier to fix as time passes. A routine dental checkup can help identify trouble spots early which means less costly repairs if necessary. It also gives us a chance to better instruct you on the latest ways to prevent oral health issues.
If its been 6 months, 6 years, or much longer, we will get you back on track. There is nothing that feels better than a freshly polished smile. Call our office today to schedule your appointment and start your new year off strong.