Make 2018 the Year of Wider Smiles:
January is traditionally a time when people look to their health after the holidays. Losing weight, cutting back on drink, and stopping smoking are all favorite targets for turning over a new leaf, but fewer people consider making New Year’s resolutions about their teeth. Here are five things you can do to raise your dental health game in 2018.
Beef Up Your Brushing
Brushing is the front line in dental health defense, but as with any regular habit, it’s easy to let things slide a little. Make a point of going back to basics with your brushing technique: use a timer to make sure you last the full two minutes, remember to pay attention to the hard-to-reach corners of your mouth and set yourself reminders to get a new brush or electric brush head every three months.
Refocus on Flossing
However, even the best brushing habits can’t remove all the bacteria-laden plaque from your teeth. Resolve to floss thoroughly once a day, to stop plaque from building up and turning into tartar, and also to remove any tiny scraps of acid-creating food caught between your teeth. As with brushing, you should aim to spend at least two minutes on this, making sure to floss through every gap you can reach.
Snack More Sensibly
You can still undo excellent brushing and flossing routines by regularly snacking on sugary foods and drinks. Aim to switch to water for most of your drinks through the day, leaving sweet sodas for the times when you can brush afterward. Also, limit your candy and other treats, replacing these snacks with healthy fibrous foods such as apples, which will actively clean your teeth rather than assaulting them with sugar.
Look After Your Smile
Some amount of teeth staining is inevitable as the years go by, but you can significantly slow this down and avoid the need for whitening treatment in the future. Why not use the New Year to kick-start a brighter smile? Switch your regular toothpaste and mouthwash to gently whitening versions, and take care to rinse your mouth with water after consuming high-staining drinks such as coffee or red wine.
Visit Your Dentist More Often
Regular dental visits are essential for keeping your teeth in good health. Having a full checkup at least twice a year will spot problems before they go too far, but that’s not the end of the story. It’s also a good idea to make appointments with your dental hygienist in between checkups, to give your teeth a thorough clean and polish, as well as providing an extra early warning for cavities, gum disease, and other issues which need attention.
Few people relish a trip to the dentist, but taking the best care you can of your teeth means you’ll need much less treatment each time you go. Follow these five New Year’s resolutions to boost your dental health and make sure your smiles are wider in 2018.
Dr Gerald O’Connor is the principal dentist and owner of Killiney Dental. Dr O’Connor graduated with an honours dental degree from University College Cork in 1998. He has since worked as a general dental surgeon in the UK and Ireland and has over 20 years experience in the dental field, with a particular interest in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Dr O’Connor is an active member of the Irish Dental Association, sitting on its Quality Patient Safety Committee, and is a Irish Dental Council registered dentist.