A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
Once the December holidays are over, it will be time to start thinking about your New Year's resolution. Approximately 45% of people make resolutions most years. If you are one of them, you might consider choosing one that will improve your dental health. Not only can a beautiful smile make you feel good about yourself, but good oral hygiene can make you less likely to develop gum disease, dental infections and maybe even heart disease. Here are three dental-related New Year's resolutions you might consider making.
Don't Go to Bed Without Brushing
Even if you are normally in the habit of brushing before bed, it is easy to neglect your teeth once in a while. While one night of not brushing is unlikely to negatively impact your health, getting into the habit of doing so can really wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. While you are sleeping, saliva production slows down, which means there is less liquid to flush away food debris. Bacteria in your mouth can have a field day with this, feeding on tiny bits of leftover food and reproducing.
Make it easy on yourself to brush before bed each night. If you normally don't eat after a certain time, simply sneak this into your routine before you are tired enough to actually sleep. For example, try brushing at 9:00 pm, before you sit down to read, knit or watch television. If you're often sleeping away from home, keep a toothbrush and a travel-sized tube of toothpaste in your purse or glove compartment.
Floss Every Day
Flossing is one of those habits that is easy to put aside. It only takes a few minutes, but many people just don't like doing it. It might help you to know that flossing is really the only way to remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulates between your teeth; regular brushing and rinsing leaves a lot of sticky plaque behind.
While the best time to floss is before bed, there's no universal rule that says it's the only time you can get in your daily flossing. If it makes more sense with your schedule to do it in the morning or on your lunch break, feel free. Just get it done every day at some point and enjoy healthier, happier gums. Having trouble remembering? Set a reminder on your phone to go off at the same time every day. Keep floss in your purse, briefcase or pocket so you don't have an excuse to ignore the reminder.
See Your Dentist Twice in 2016
With any luck (and good brushing and flossing habits), you won't need to see your dentist for cavities or root canals this year. This doesn't mean that you should not have at least two appointments scheduled, however! Professional cleanings remove tartar, which is hardened plaque, from below the gumline. If allowed to accumulate, this tartar can lead to periodontal disease, bone loss and even loose teeth.
If you don't have an appointment for a dental cleaning and it's been more than six months since your last cleaning, call now to schedule an appointment. Immediately after you have your teeth cleaned in the first half of 2016, make the appointment for your next cleaning. Put it on your calendar and ask the office to send a card to remind you.
Your teeth should last a lifetime with proper care. What better way to start the new year than with a resolution to keep them healthy and attractive for as long as possible? A dental new year's resolution is based on habits you already have, so it should not be hard to keep it. Happy New Year!