New Year, Healthy Teeth
It’s a brand new year!
The end of the year often triggers us to think about what happened in the year just gone. This is often accompanied by a desire to make some changes in the new year.
It’s no surprise that New Year’s Resolutions are frequently focused on improving various aspects of our health. Some popular resolutions include:
- Achieving a healthier weight
- Quitting or minimising habits like smoking that can harm our health
- Improving our fitness
- Achieving a fitness goal, like training for a triathlon or half-marathon, or learning a new skill like tennis or golf
- Improving our diets by minimising sugars, alcohol and refined carbohydrates and filling our plates with vegetables, high quality protein and good fats.
It’s not our place to provide information about how to achieve your general health goals for the new year- there are plenty of folk more qualified to do that.
But we do feel that we have a place n encouraging you to set some positive Dental Health Resolutions this year.
And we’d like to get you started 🙂
Here are the seven most important resolutions you can make to enjoy better dental health in 2017.
Resolution 1 – Maintaining The Brushing Habit
“Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes.”It’s an oft-repeated mantra of parents and your dental team, but it’s one that needs to be heard and carried out. The basis for good dental health is effective removal of all that nasty plaque that builds up on your teeth every day.
While your toothbrush can’t reach all the plaque, a well-developed brushing routine will remove most of the plaque from the outer and inner surfaces of every tooth, as well as the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars. Importantly, toothbrushing cleans the gumline, which is where plaque likes to hide.
Resolution 2 – Floss Every Day
We’ve heard that people have trouble with flossing. We get that. Flossing is a skill that requires coordination, determination and an ongoing commitment. Many of us weren’t taught as children that flossing is an important part of cleaning your teeth.
There’s a very good reason why your dental team advises you to floss, and to do it properly. The tight spaces between your teeth hold food particles and dental plaque well out of reach of your toothbrush. The longer the bacteria and food remain between your teeth, the more likely it is that you will develop cavities and gum disease between your teeth.
The simplest solution to rid of those food particles is through flossing. There are a lot of video tutorials available around the internet to help you if you find it tricky. Here’s one from Bupa: How To Floss Your Teeth.
Even better, ask a member of your dental team for a lesson! Videos can give you the basic idea, but nothing beats a lesson that helps you navigate the complexities of your own mouth.
Resolution 3 – Fewer Acidic Beverages
Canberrans (like many Australians) seem to enjoy drinking fruit juices. And because we’re a sporty city, many people also consume sports and energy drinks on a regular basis.
It’s easy to be led to believe that all of these beverages have health benefits.
But it’s really important to realise that consuming them regularly puts your teeth at risk.
Fizzy drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and yes, even fruit juices may contain high amounts of sugar. Sugar feeds plaque growth, and helps the little critters to make cavities in our teeth. But sugar is just part of the problem…
All of these beverages, including low- and no-sugar varieties tend to be very acidic. Acid is a problem because it can cause the enamel coating of your teeth to be gradually eroded away. This causes
- increased tooth sensitivity
- tooth wear
- yellowing of the teeth
Resolve to drink fewer of these acidic beverages, and help others, especially children and teens, to do the same Check out our tips here.
Resolution 4 – Consume Less Sugar
It’s hard to avoid sugary treats during the festive season. Many Canberrans are also on extended holidays this time of year, so it may be that you have greater access to sweet snacks at the moment.
The occasional sweet treat is fine. It’s falling into a habit of frequent sugar consumption that will likely cause damage to your teeth and gums.
Perhaps it’s time to consume healthier fare, starting with less sugar consumption.
We’ve written about sugar and the many forms it takes many times on our blog, because it’s such an important thing to understand and get control of.
Later this month we will be featuring an article based on the popular documentary, “That Sugar Film”.
In the meantime, we encourage you to read more about sugar and why your dental team is concerned over your intake of too much of it.
Resolution 5 – Keep Teeth Safe
We think this is a really great resolution for 2017: take measures to properly protect your teeth and those of your loved ones.
If you or your child is engaged in contact sports or any activity where a facial injury is possible, make sure you/he/she wears a mouthguard not only during the actual game but also during trainings. It’s so important to wear a properly-fitted mouthguard. If you haven’t read our previous articles, you can check them out via the links below:
Resolution 6 – Keep Teeth Brighter
Did you know that your tooth enamel has very tiny holes and cracks that can hold stains and make them look darker?
Coffee and other beverages such as fizzy drinks, tea, chocolate drinks as well as dark-coloured foods such as tomato-based sauces, berries, and dark chocolates contain pigments that can seep into these holes, causing tooth discolouration or staining.
Needless to say, smoking also stains the teeth—(but that’s just one of the many health hazards this habit causes!)
Sure, you can get your teeth whitened- but if you can avoid things that cause staining, you may not need to!
This year, why not resolve to reduce your intake of dark-coloured foods? We know it can be very hard to give up coffee (and tea!) but the key is moderation. Instead of consuming coffee constantly throughout the day, try to limit it to 2 cups per day.
It can be good practice to rinse your mouth with water after consuming dark-coloured foods or drinks, especially if they are also acidic or contain sugar.
Water is the best beverage for your teeth and your body generally. It’s refreshing, delicious and, importantly, doesn’t stain your teeth.
Resolution 7 – Keep Regular Dental Appointments
It is during a routine dental checkup that your dentist will (among other things)
- perform an oral cancer screening
- check teeth for signs of acid erosion or wear and tear
- check teeth for signs of cavities
- check your gums for signs of gum disease
- (when necessary) use x-rays to determine whether cavities are developing in difficult to see places
- show you more effective techniques for keeping the plaque away from your teeth and gum
- help you to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of sugar, acid, wear and tear and sporting injuries.
We believe that preventing dental disease now is much better than having to treat it later. It’s generally less expensive to stop dental disease from developing at all, or to treat dental disease in its earliest stages.
It takes a great deal of commitment from you to apply all the resolutions that we’ve suggested each and every day.
Our commitment is to encourage you and help you whenever you need support, advice or care.
In 2016, we look forward to seeing you regularly throughout the year.
Happy New Year! May it be a year filled with (dental) health and lots of smiles!