When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many people vow to make big changes in the upcoming
year. Improving your oral health doesn’t take a large commitment and can be easy to do. With just a few minutes
dedicated to daily dental health, you can spend next New Year’s Eve dazzling your date with your sparkling
smile. Here are a few resolutions to get you started.
If you’re not already brushing twice daily, now is a
great time to start. If you tend to skip the evening
session, work it into your bedtime routine. Brushing
before you hit the hay helps keep detrimental debris
from clinging to your teeth overnight. It’s also
best to make sure bristles are spending enough
quality time with your teeth. Though two minutes is
recommended, most people invest just 46 seconds
per brushing session.
TAKE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH
Already brushing twice daily? Congrats! For bonus
points, keep a brush at the office so you can freshen
up after power lunches (or microwave meals). You can
even skip toothpaste for this “extra” third session.
One in 10 people say they never floss. If you’re
holding out, what are you waiting for? With just a
couple of minutes and about 18 inches of floss, your
teeth will be cleaner and healthier. (And your breath
will benefit, too.) Flossing is the single best way to
remove plaque from between your teeth where the
toothbrush can’t reach, so make sure it’s part of your
daily oral health regimen.
NIP NAIL BITING
IN THE BUD.
It’s not only bad for your manicure, but it’s not doing
your teeth any favors, either. Nail nibbling has been
linked to oral health problems such as teeth grinding
and jaw clenching, which can lead to facial pain
and sensitive teeth. Because it’s not as tempting to
gnaw on neat nails, try to take care of jagged edges,
hangnails and ragged cuticles. You can also try an
instant reminder: Coat your nails with a clear,
bitter-tasting polish to deter you from chewing.
DROP IN ON
Been awhile since your last dental appointment?
Here’s a resolution you can cross off your list in the
next five minutes: Call your dentist and schedule a
checkup. If a phobia is keeping you from visiting,
you’re not alone — more than 20 million Americans
are afraid of the dentist. Discuss your fear with your
dentist so he or she can help. If it’s been a really long
time since you last wore a dental bib, take comfort in
the fact that modern dentistry has come a long way.
Not only has pain management improved but also
many practices offer soothing touches such as TVs,
pillows, blankets, aromatherapy and music.
JUST SAY NO
This one isn’t quite as easy to conquer, but it’s one of
the most important. In addition to decreasing your risk
for oral cancer, kicking the habit can decrease your
risk for gum disease, tooth discoloration, bad breath
and swollen gums. So, make a plan. Set a date,
such as “I’m going to quit on February 1,” instead of
“I’m going to quit smoking this year.” Discuss your
cessation plan with your physician or dentist. Join a
support group, and don’t be shy about asking your
friends, family and co-workers for encouragement.