5 Ways to Put Oral Health on Your Resolution List

There’s something special about the start of a new year. Maybe it’s because it’s a blank slate—a new beginning that is full of promise. A new year is also a milestone, which is a great time to take stock of the important things in our lives, such as our health – specifically our oral health.

Oral health plays a role in our overall health. If our oral health is poor, that can put us at greater risk for disease. That’s enough reason to add oral health to your New Year’s resolutions for 2015!

If you want to resolve to take better care of your mouth and teeth this year, here are five ways you can help improve your oral health in 2015.

Resolution #1: Improve your brushing and flossing habits. Brushing after each meal and flossing at least once a day will help to remove the food particles that would otherwise decay in your mouth, potentially causing damage. For a refresher, consult these videos on how to brush your teeth and how to floss your teeth.

Resolution #2: Take care of delayed dental treatments. Now is the time to complete that dental work you’ve been putting off, or head to the dentist’s office if you haven’t been in awhile. If you’ve been avoiding treatment because you have a phobia of the dental chair, this video offers tips to help you fight your fear of visiting the dentist.

Resolution #3: Eat a healthy diet that benefits your teeth. Maintaining a healthy diet promotes strong teeth and bones. That includes plenty of fruits and vegetables! Choose foods rich in vitamin C, including leafy vegetables; foods with folic acid, such as spinach and broccoli; and foods with vitamin B12, such as dairy and meat. Dairy foods contain calcium, and yogurt has phosphates that can help remineralize teeth. Egg yolks are excellent sources of vitamin D, and the vitamin C in vegetables contributes to strong gums. Limit your exposure to acidic drinks and sugary treats, which can harm the enamel on your teeth. Be sure to talk with your physician before making any major diet changes.

Resolution #4: Quit smoking. Easier said than done, I know, but the effects of smoking on oral health are not appealing. They include yellow teeth, increased buildup of plaque and, of course, bad breath. Not smelling great is the least of your worries, though, as the habit also increases your risk of oral cancer. Mouth cancers are among the toughest cancers to treat. For inspiration to quit, watch this video on the health and cost benefits of quitting smoking.

Resolution #5: Wear a mouthguard during contact sports. Mouthguards aren’t just for kids. These essential appliances absorb and distribute forces that impact the mouth, teeth, face, and jaw when an athlete takes a hit. If you play competitive sports with a risk of contact,wearing a mouthguard can prevent chips, fractures, lacerations, displaced or dislodged teeth, and other trauma.

Practice these five resolutions and you’ll have plenty of reasons to smile in 2015!

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