Did you know that almost 75% of Americans make resolutions—changes they want to make in their lives in the coming year? And 50% of those resolutions are related to health. Unfortunately, most people forget one important aspect of their health: dental care. Listed below are five easy-to-adopt habits that could improve not only your overall dental health, but could also result in a healthier smile.
1. Follow the 2×2 rule for brushing. This is an easy habit to develop: brush twice a day for two minutes. Brushing your teeth helps remove food and plaque—a bacteria-containing film that forms on your teeth. That plaque produces acids that erode tooth enamel, causing cavities. Unfortunately, 30% of Americans don’t brush frequently enough.
Not only do you need to brush often, but you need to brush for at least two minutes. One study showed that brushing for one minute only removes about 27% of plaque on your teeth. So that extra minute makes a difference.
2. Floss at least once a day. If you develop this simple habit, you’ll be doing better than 85% of the population. Your toothbrush can’t reach into tiny areas, like the gum line between your teeth. Flossing removes debris like food and plaque, which helps prevent gum disease. It can help eliminate bad breath as well.
3. Evaluate your bite.Crowded or crooked teeth don’t just affect your smile. They can cause multiple problems, including your ability to brush and floss thoroughly. This can lead to more severe issues, such as:
- Periodontal disease
- Improper chewing
- Digestive problems
- Speech difficulties
- Excess wear on the teeth, gums, and jaw
- Chronic headaches
4. Cut back on smoking and other tobacco products. You know that tobacco can cause throat, lung, and oral cancer, but those aren’t the only complications. Using tobacco can also cause tooth discoloration, gum recession, periodontitis (gum disease), cavities, and even tooth loss.
5. Drink more water. Lots of studies have shown the importance of proper hydration for your body to function as it was designed. But drinking water also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong. That’s because any acids in your mouth, even natural ones, can weaken your teeth and cause dental erosion. By drinking water often, you neutralize those acids and hydrate the tissue in your mouth at the same time. Not only that, but when you drink water at meals, you rinse away food particles that could get stuck in tiny crevices.
Here’s one more suggestion: It’s the new year, so it’s a great time to get a new toothbrush! If you’ve had your toothbrush for three months or more, it’s time for a new one, especially if the bristles are frayed.
A quick trip to our office can be the starting point for not only improving your smile but also your overall health. Children as young as seven need an orthodontic check-up. Just call or email us and we can schedule a personalized orthodontic evaluation. We have two offices in the Summerville area for your convenience.
If you want more tips for a better smile and better dental health, please refer to our website.