New Year’s Resolutions that are Really Worth ItMarch 9, 2020 9:02 am
A New Year means a new you! The start of the year offers a chance to get rid of bad habits and bring in new and better ones. Looking after the health of your teeth and gums is a great place to start. Just a few simple changes in your lifestyle can make the world of difference to your mouth health. Read on to get a brighter, whiter smile this January.
- Stop smoking
Everyone knows smoking is bad, but you might not know why. Smoking reduces the amount of saliva you produce, meaning it’s harder for your mouth to clean itself naturally. The chemicals in smoke are also stored in saliva, meaning they stay in your mouth for much longer than the time you take to breathe in and out. And, there’s the risk of oral cancer. Shisha isn’t an exception either – with no filter, just one shisha can be equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. It would be hard to find one single bad habit that’s better to drop than smoking this New Year!
- Brush your teeth
Of course you brush your teeth – but for how long? It’s amazing how many people don’t manage to brush their teeth for the full two to three minutes twice a day. it’s important to make sure every tooth is brushed, so that bacteria and food particles are cleaned away. Try timing yourself on your phone or watch, and really pay attention when you’re brushing – it’s easy to miss hard-to-reach spots at the back. Brush your tongue to be super-thorough. While you’re at the bathroom mirror, floss as well.
- Visit the dentist regularly
You should visit the dentist every six months. Even if you’re super careful with your dental routine, there are many things only a professional can spot, such as some of the signs of gum disease. If you have a health condition like diabetes then you are at increased risk of conditions like this, so it’s extra important to be vigilant. The dentist can also refer you to the hygienist – and the hygienist can give your teeth a more thorough clean than you can at home, removing tough plaque and tarter that causes tooth damage.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly
You should throw out your brush and buy a new one every three to four months, or when the bristles start to splay out. This is because old toothbrushes can harbour germs, and when the bristles fray, they become less effective at cleaning. If you have been sick recently, it might be worth replacing the brush too.
- Eat healthy
Avoid sugar and soft drinks – even diet versions contain tooth-damaging acids. Try to have lots of fruit and vegetables. Crunchy ones are great for cleaning teeth, and contain lots of health-giving fibre. Don’t snack between meals, as the food in your mouth can be used by bacteria to make acid that damages your teeth. Chew sugar-free gum to help produce saliva and clean your teeth. Drink lots of water too – this helps replenish valuable saliva reserves and naturally cleans your mouth.
- Cut back on drinking
It’s a great idea to try and cut down on alcohol consumption for the New Year. Drinking can leave you dehydrated – meaning you don’t have enough saliva to clean your mouth, and bad bacteria are able to stick to teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay. Wine and spirits can also be very sugary – bad newsfor your teeth, because it gives bacteria in your mouth plenty of food to thrive on. And, heavy drinking increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
- Use your head – not your teeth
Don’t mistake your teeth for a handy pair of scissors. Using your teeth to open a packet or bottle is very likely to harm them – do it regularly, and you could expect to develop grooves or small cracks. Using back teeth can also damage a crown or filling, and a weak tooth could even fracture.
- Be careful with sports
Lastly, if you’ve decided to take up some exercise for the New Year, make sure you take adequate care of your teeth. Contact sports like football and hockey can be dangerous – imagine if a puck, ball or stick hit you in the face! Buy a gum shield, or even better, get a custom shield made for you by your dentist. And, whatever exercise you decide to do, avoid sports drinks – these are high in sugar and very acidic.
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