With the beginning of each New Year, we feel like we get a fresh start. Many of us celebrate the change of the year with a list of goals to help us enjoy a better quality of life. Whether it’s getting more exercise, quitting smoking, or eating more veggies, most new year's resolutions are about building healthy habits. Here are a few simple resolutions you can make this year to enjoy healthier teeth and a smile you’ll be proud to show off!
1. COMMIT TO BETTER BRUSHING
There’s a saying in dentistry: clean ‘em like you want to keep ‘em! Keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque is the number one way to protect your oral health. That means brushing at least twice per day for at least two minutes each time.
For some of us, committing to that twice daily routine will be a great resolution for this year. Many of us fall short of the twice-a-day goal. The good news is there are plenty of strategies to make it easier to commit to a better habit in 2023.
If you find yourself rushing out of the house each morning without brushing, consider packing a toothbrush in the glove box of your car, in your lunch box, or anywhere else you’ll have it available as you go through the rest of your day. Even without toothpaste, dry brushing is a great way to remove plaque and support your oral health. You can brush in the car, after lunch, or anytime that works for your schedule! For those who crash into bed at the end of a long day without brushing, try brushing in the shower. You’re in there anyway, and bonus it won’t matter if you make a mess with the toothpaste!
Once you’ve mastered brushing twice every day, work on duration. Set a kitchen timer, use the timer on your phone, or best of all grab an electric toothbrush that turns off automatically once you’ve brushed for two minutes.
2. FEELING FLOSSY?
When it comes to maintaining great oral health at home, brushing is only half the battle. The areas between your teeth are prime real estate for the bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis. Because they’re protected from the cleansing actions of your tongue, lips, and cheeks, bacteria between your teeth have a perfect hideout. Your toothbrush also can’t get to them!
Flossing gets a bad rap, but it’s probably one of the most significant changes you can make to improve your oral health. It only takes about one to two minutes, and only needs to happen once per day. Even if you don’t manage to floss every single day, just a few times per week can make a huge difference.
If flossing is difficult for you due to dexterity issues, discomfort, or just lack of motivation, consider investing in a water flosser. WaterPik is the most popular, and it does a great job sweeping out bacteria from between the teeth and under the gums.
3. CATCH UP ON REGULAR CLEANINGS
Make 2023 the year you catch up on your cleanings! Most Americans skipped several cleanings during the COVID pandemic. With our enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures, we have ensured that Anderson Family Dental is a safe and pristine place to get dental care.
For the majority of patients, we recommend getting your teeth cleaned twice per year, or about every six months. That’s the standard recommendation for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. However, many patients benefit from three or four cleanings per year. Increased frequency can help control buildup for patients who build plaque and tartar quickly. It’s also necessary for patients with active gum disease who need treatment rather than maintenance. More frequent cleanings can also help control staining and reduce inflammation during health changes such as pregnancy.
5. QUIT SMOKING
Quitting tobacco is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. However, it can sometimes be easier said than done. Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or use chew or dip, tobacco products increase your risks for a variety of health problems. It’s not just lung cancer, either! Oral cancers and soft tissue problems are major risks as well.
Nicotine constricts small blood vessels throughout your body. That includes the tiny vessels that supply your gums. Because nicotine cuts off blood supply and oxygen to your gums, tobacco users are prone to periodontal disease. Over time, tobacco can compromise the attachment between your gums and your teeth, leading to receding gums, loose teeth, and eventually causing teeth to fall out completely.
Unfortunately, many smokers don’t realize they have gum disease until it’s fairly severe. Bleeding gums are one of the main signs of gum disease. Because nicotine shrinks the blood vessels, the gums may not bleed as easily, leading to the mistaken belief that your gums are doing okay when in fact they’re struggling. Checking in regularly with your dental hygienist can give you a clear picture of the true health of your gums.
If you feel like 2023 is your year to try and quit, let us know! We may be able to point you in the direction of some resources to support your attempt. Also remember that it can take many attempts before you successfully quit tobacco. Quitting but starting up again doesn’t mean you failed! It means you have one more attempt under your belt and will be more likely to quit long-term next time.
6. CONSIDER A LITTLE TOOTHY TLC
Maybe you’ve seen those motivational posts on social media suggesting that you make a resolution to smile more in 2023. That may mean spending quality time with friends, doing more self-care, or making an effort to find the joy in little things each day.
Feeling confident in your smile through better oral health can help you find more reasons to show off your pearly whites every day. Tooth whitening and cosmetic dentistry can enhance the look of your smile. Restorative dentistry like fillings (link: can resolve tooth pain, reduce sensitivity, and improve your overall well being. Regardless of what TLC your smile needs, Dr. Anderson is right here in Winter Park to provide it! Call us to schedule your next dental health checkup today and make 2023 a year of great smiles!