We make resolutions every year. We renew some old resolutions and make some new pledges. Most of them revolve around making us better, inside and out. Personally, I have discovered that the only way to make a resolution permanent is by making it a habit, by incorporating it in your lifestyle. Here are some easy dental resolutions to keep your pearly whites healthy and bright.
Diet and Oral Health
Eating healthy may keep your teeth and gums healthier. Plaque, which contains acid-forming bacteria, forms on the teeth when they are not brushed and kept clean. This plaque combines with sticky starches and sugars which are found in a lot of foods, and, produces an acid which erodes the teeth. This plaque is also the culprit that causes gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults over 30.
High sugar diets, beverages rich in acid and processed starchy foods may be avoided as much as possible. Less refined starchy foods like whole grain foods, fruits containing water, like grapes, apples, pears, cantaloupes and other melons, vegetables like raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber and celery, and aged cheeses like Swiss, cheddar and Monterey Jack, are some healthy foods.
A healthy diet of nuts like almonds, fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, pumpkin, mangoes, collard greens, spinach, kale, tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and blood oranges, and, dairy may also slow or possibly prevent the development of potentially cancerous lesions.
Protect your children’s teeth by giving them healthy food, healthy snacks and keeping their teeth clean by teaching them how to brush and floss effectively.
The practice of putting an infant or toddler to bed with a bottle of milk or fruit juice, (milk lactose and fruit juice contain sugars that support decay), can cause a severe form of tooth decay, called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries, and should be avoided at all costs.
Protect your four-legged companions’ teeth also, by giving them healthy pet food, pet treats, and brushing their teeth.
Brushing and Flossing Your way to Good Oral Health
The good habit of brushing and flossing in the morning after waking up, at night before bedtime and after meals, is excellent to keep the harm causing plaque away and to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The longer you leave food in your mouth, the higher the risk for cavities and gum disease.
Protect Yourself From Oral Cancer
Make a firm resolution to avoid tobacco and alcohol use. Chemicals associated with the development of cancer have been found in all types of tobacco such as cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars or smokeless varieties like snuff and chewing tobacco. Tobacco usage, combined with heavy alcohol consumption synergistically increases the risk for oral cancer. Also avoid areca (betel nut) chewing.
The human papillomavirus (HPV), one of the viruses responsible for majority of cervical cancers in women, has replaced tobacco as the number one risk factor for oral cancer in the US in 2011. Ask your physician for details about its risks, prevention and the vaccines available.
If you tend to spend a great deal of time under the sun, take precautions to protect you skin AND your lips. Prolonged and repeated exposure to the sun greatly increases the risk of lip and skin cancers.
Take Precautions to Prevent Dental Injuries
“Child proof” your house and always keep vigilant supervision to prevent common children related injuries.
Custom fitted mouth guards and properly fitted personal protective equipment, such as face guards and helmets, are extremely important in prevention of outdoor recreational and sports related dental oro-facial injuries.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Dental check-ups are extremely important. Good dental professional care is a big part of taking care of one’s teeth and gums. A regular professional cleaning as recommended by your dentist and hygienist is extremely important. Visiting your dentist may also help catch problems early on, rather than wait till it’s too late. It is important to understand that dentistry should be related to improving one’s oral health, and, the fear and anxiety of pain should not be a deterrent to one getting good professional care. Dentistry has grown leaps and bounds in the past years. Speak to your dental professional about ways to improve your oral health.
2013 promises to be an exciting year. Make it an exciting year for your oral health. Make a pledge to take excellent care of your gums and pearly whites, so that they may keep you smiling for life!