New Year’s Resolutions that are Good for Your Teeth
At the start of a new year, many people make New Year’s resolutions. These are commitments to change something in your life, whether stopping a bad habit, starting a good habit, or simply trying something completely new. The most common resolutions relate to improved health. Many people resolve to exercise consistently, eat healthy, and lose weight.
Those are always great commitments to keep throughout the year. Don’t forget your oral health, though. You cannot be completely healthy if you have an unhealthy mouth. We want to share a few ideas for resolutions that are good for your teeth.
Cut the Sugar
This resolution can affect more than just your mouth. Obviously, eating less sugar is better for your teeth since sugar is a major cause of cavities. Diets that are high in sugar also lead to serious health concerns, like obesity, diabetes, and chronic inflammation. Some scientists even link sugar with a faster aging process.
By reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet, you can kill multiple birds with one stone. You will protect your teeth against cavities. You will lose weight and lower your risk for health problems. You may even slow down the aging process. Don’t we all want to look as young as possible?
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is another resolution that is good for both the mouth and the whole body. When you drink water throughout the day, you help keep your mouth at a neutral pH. The mechanism through which bacteria cause cavities on the teeth uses acids, and we can make it easier for them to do so when our mouths are acidic. Keeping your mouth neutral or alkaline in pH counteracts the acids and protects the teeth from cavities.
Water also helps to gently flush away dental plaque from the teeth and lubricate the inside of the mouth. This protects the soft tissues from the sores and ulcers that commonly arise when the mouth is dry.
A healthy water intake is also essential for your body to produce an adequate amount of saliva. Saliva plays many important roles in the mouth. Because water is important in so many other bodily functions, dehydration may cause your body to conserve water by cutting back on saliva production, leading to a dry mouth.
A dry mouth has a drastically higher risk for cavities and gum disease.
Reduce Your Stress
We know…this one is probably easier said than done. Stress is a significant problem among Americans, both adults and children. Stress often manifests itself in physical ways in our bodies. One of those ways is through heavy clenching or grinding of the teeth while we sleep. Stress or anxiety increases muscle tension all over the body, and that includes the muscles of the jaws.
People undergoing high levels of stress often wake up with headaches, facial pain, sore teeth, or pain in the jaw joints. By reducing your stress, you may be able to alleviate these symptoms and protect your teeth from the damage that heavy clenching and grinding cause.
There are many different methods for stress reduction, and it may take your trying several of them before you find one that works. Here are a few ideas:
- Meditation or prayer time before bed
- Listening to soft classical music or nature sounds
- Taking a leisurely walk with a loved one or alone
- Getting about fifteen minutes of sun each day
- Consistent exercise (caution: heavy weight-lifting can increase muscle tension)
- Turn off all electronic devices and play a card or board game with family
And Of Course . . . FLOSS!
Flossing is one of those habits that becomes much easier the more you do it. When you floss regularly, you should be able to floss all of your teeth in the appropriate technique in under two minutes. What other great habit takes less than two minutes a day?
Flossing not only keeps your teeth and gums healthy. It improves bad breath and the appearance of your smile. It also increases your lifespan by as much as six years! People who floss regularly have a much lower risk for diseases like heart diseases and Alzheimer’s.
One last perk of flossing every day: it will save you a ton of money at the dentist! Our patients who floss every day require much less dental treatment, spending less time and money in our office.
More Questions about Good Habits for Your Teeth?
Call Timberlake Dental at 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning or one of our wonderful dental hygienists. We can assess your unique oral health status and suggest habits that will be best for you.
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