If you are like most people, your list of New Year's resolutions might revolve around your weight or your daily habits, but what about your dental health? Since study after study has tied oral health to overall wellness, it is crucial to make changes today to protect your body tomorrow. Here are three New Year's resolutions you should make for your smile — even though the ball has already dropped in Times Square.
1. Focus on Flossing
Although flossing got a lot of bad press a few years back when the efficacy of the procedure was called into question, dentists and periodontists across the globe remained stalwart in their opinion that it helps people to reduce instances of tooth decay.
In fact, in a blinded study conducted at NYU that followed sets of twins, individuals who flossed and focused on brushing their tongues had far fewer oral bacteria present in their mouths when compared to their twin who didn't engage in these beneficial practices. Since these bacteria can cause issues like periodontal disease, tooth decay, and gum recession, flossing is considered a low-risk, low-cost way to improve your oral health.
To make flossing part of your everyday routine, set aside extra time in the morning or evening to run those strands between your teeth. If you have problems with bleeding gums during the process, switch to a tape floss, which is gentler on the gums.
2. Exercise Daily
People always talk about how great exercise is for your body, but have you thought about the impact it could have on your teeth and gums? When you exercise, your body regulates itself on a microbiological level, allowing your entire system to become stronger and more healthy.
For example, when you exercise, your body burns through the glycogen stores you have in your liver, which reduces your blood sugar. Since blood sugar impacts your salivary sugar levels, taking a walk or running up a few flights of stairs can help to curb the feeding of oral bacteria inside of your mouth, reducing your risks of developing problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
Additionally, since exercise improves blood flow throughout your body, it helps to keep your teeth, tongue, jaw, and palate strong and healthy. Extra blood flow also helps your body to rid itself of toxins, making your mouth less susceptible to oral infections.
To add a little more movement to your day, focus on being as active as you can be at all times. Consider investing in a standing desk if you work in front of a computer, park farther away from store entrances, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Before you know it, you might find yourself losing weight and enjoying better dental checkups.
3. Chew More Gum
Although it might seem silly to focus on chewing more gum this year, sugar-free gum has actually been shown to improve salivary flow rate by as much as ten times, helping your mouth to stay clean. Since saliva is crucial for rinsing away food particles and neutralizing bacterial acids, doing something as simple as popping a stick of gum after meals could improve your oral health.
When you select chewing gum, look for versions that are sugar-free and approved by the ADA. In addition to keeping a pack of gum at home, keep a pack in your car, purse, briefcase, and desk so that you always have a stick handy.
One great way to get off on the right foot in terms of your dental care is to schedule an appointment with Fox Dental Associates. With a commitment to preventive dentistry and conservative restorations, this team of experienced dental professionals can help you to look great and feel even better. From routine screenings and prophylaxis to dental implants and cosmetic repairs, you won't regret stopping by their office.