If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made at least a few New Year’s resolutions in your life. Most New Year’s resolutions focus on self-improvement. Many people want to lose weight, exercise more or read more. As you plan for the rest of the year and think about the changes you want to make, it’s worthwhile to think about your oral health. Now is the perfect time to set dental goals or fix anything you’ve neglected relating to your dental health.
As we move farther into 2019, consider one or more of these New Year’s resolutions for your smile.
Schedule a Dental Cleaning
It’s never too late to schedule a professional dental visit and teeth cleaning. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been to the dentist for years or had your last visit a few months ago–a cleaning is always a good idea. During a cleaning appointment, a dentist will not only deep clean your teeth and gums, but will also examine your mouth and recommend other treatments.
When scheduled regularly (at least twice a year), dental cleanings give your dentist the chance to catch any potential problems early, such as the signs of gum disease or small cavities. In the earliest stages, gum disease is easier to treat and can even be reversed. Similarly, smaller cavities are easier to fill and won’t compromise the long-term structure of the teeth.
Don’t be shy about scheduling your next dental appointment, even if it’s been a while since you’ve visited a dentist. Set aside time during a lunch break or before you go to work in the morning to call up a dentist and book your next appointment.
Pick Up One New Dental Habit
Is there a habit your dentist has recommended over and over, but you haven’t had the chance to pick it up yet? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to start flossing daily or timing yourself while you brush to make sure you’re sticking to the recommended two minutes.
There’s no time like the present for getting started on a positive new dental habit. If you’re worried that it will be challenging to make the habit stick, there are a few things you can do to help establish the habit. For example, if your resolutions included “start flossing,” you can set a calendar reminder for yourself each morning. Set the reminder to go off about 10 minutes before you have to head out the door, so that you’re more likely to put down what you’re doing and floss.
If you want to start brushing for two minutes, the easiest way to do so is to set a timer. Keep on brushing until it dings, and make sure to get all the nooks and crannies. You can also play a two-minute song and stop brushing once the song is over.
If you smoke or use other tobacco products, try to make 2019 the year you quit. Tobacco products cause a number of ill effects on your teeth and mouth, including increasing your risk of developing gum disease. Quitting smoking won’t only help your dental health, it will also help improve your overall health and the health of your wallet.
Quitting tobacco can often be easier said than done, so it’s important to have a strong support group. Your dentist, doctors, and other medical professionals can offer guidance as you put together a plan to quit. They can also point you in the direction of support services or recommend smoking cessation aids. Your friends and family can also be a good source of support as you work to give up the habit.
Sugary and starchy foods are the leading cause of cavities and tooth decay. One way to reduce your risk of tooth decay and to improve your diet overall is to cut down on the amount of sugar you eat or drink.
One of the reasons why resolutions fail is that people try to do too much too quickly. If you want to eat less sugar, don’t stress about cutting it out of your diet completely. Instead, take baby steps in 2019. In January, you can try cutting back on the number of sodas you drink in a week or cut out one dessert a week. You can also try to cut down or cut out the sugar in your morning coffee or tea.
Each month of the year, find one small thing you can do to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet. Eventually, you won’t even miss it.
Pay Attention to Your Toothbrush
You know that you’re supposed to replace your toothbrush every three months or so, or once the bristles look worn out (whichever comes sooner). If you aren’t sure when you last replaced your toothbrush, toss it today and get a new one. This might be the easiest resolution you’ve ever made. Mark on your calendar three months from now and set a “new toothbrush” reminder, so that you know when the time comes to get another new brush. Buying all four at once makes this resolution even easier!
Whether your resolutions involve big changes or small ones, your dentist can help you achieve them. Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area offering patients custom treatment plans. He can recommend options that work for you and your needs. To schedule an appointment in Miami, FL, call 305-547-8687 today.