With a new calendar year on the horizon, many people are engaging in that time-honored American tradition of making resolutions, vowing to improve certain aspects of their lives.
If you are one of those who aspires to better their oral health in 2014, Delta Dental offers the following suggestions to help make these resolutions work.
• Brush/floss regularly: The uncomplicated daily one-two punch of brushing twice a day and flossing once is still the foundation for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The sooner you can brush following a meal, the better. The longer food stays stuck to your teeth, the more acid is produced that erodes tooth enamel.
• Visit a dentist in 2014: Don’t delay making an appointment for a check-up. Dentists do more than just check and clean teeth. They can also check for signs of serious oral health problems like oral cancer and gum disease, answer questions and provide advice for adults and children and alert patients to signs of potential medical conditions. And if you have a little one, make sure they visit the dentist by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting.
• Avoid tobacco products: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of the cases of severe gum disease in U.S. adults can be attributed to cigarette smoking, and the prevalence of gum disease is 3 times higher among smokers than non-smokers. Consuming products like cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco is arguably the single most destructive oral health habit.
• Eat sweets in moderation: It was ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who advised, “Moderation in all things” and that axiom rings especially true for sweet snacks. Tooth decay occurs when candy, cookies, sodas and other sweets, or simple carbohydrates like those in chips or crackers mix with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to produce acid, which can destroy tooth enamel. Whenever possible, stick to having sweets with dinner and brush afterward if possible. Limit sugary snacks because the more times during the day that your teeth are exposed, the longer the acids attack.
Do you have other suggestions? Leave us a comment below.