Now that Christmas is over and 2019 is here, most people are busy making their list of New Year’s Resolutions. For many of us, we aim to improve our physical wellbeing and live a healthier lifestyle, perhaps by losing weight or hitting the gym more often.
However, with all of our focus on physical wellbeing we often tend to forget to add oral hygiene to the list. Now, as a passionate hygienist, that hurts. Yes, living a more active and healthier lifestyle is excellent, but oral health is important as well.
Many diseases and pathogens enter our bodies through our mouth and eventually make their way to other parts of the body. Infections in the mouth can have an impact on our overall health, so keeping your mouth clean is vital.
Luckily, I’m here to share some oral hygiene tips that can be used as resolutions to help you achieve a better smile in 2019 and for many years to come.
Brush At Least Twice a Day
I hate to sound like a broken record, and this may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people don’t brush their teeth twice a day.
As we consume different foods throughout the day, particles become wedged between our teeth. Food also builds up on our teeth and along the gum line.
Brushing with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste helps you to clear away plaque and the food that has collected on your teeth throughout the day.
Not brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and again at night, can cause plaque to build up and eat away at the coating on your teeth, leading to tooth decay and potential tooth loss!
Remember to spit, but don’t rinse the toothpaste away after.
Clean In-between Teeth Daily
Brushing has its benefits but flossing or interdental cleaning also brings significant advantages.
Toothbrushes are not capable of reaching in between teeth to remove unwanted debris. Brushing cleans about 60% but interdental cleaning with floss or brushes helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can occur when food and plaque are left lodged between teeth.
While this may seem like a pain, it’s actually something a lot of us don’t do, so it makes for the perfect resolution to stick with! Once a day, preferably at night, is recommended.
Avoid Food and Drink That Stains
Through eating and drinking our teeth naturally get stained, however some culprits are worse than others. If you're self-conscious of the colour of your teeth, you should avoid eating foods and drinking beverages that significantly contribute to staining.
Two of the biggest offenders for staining are coffee and alcohol.
Pigments from dark-colored drinks can become embedded in cracks and ridges in your teeth, causing permanent staining if not cared for properly.
Alcoholic drinks are even worse, because not only do they cause staining but they also contribute to dental decay and irreversible enamel erosion.
Why not take part in Dry January and try and reduce your alcohol consumption in the new year, especially on red wine and dark beers.
Reducing coffee and alcohol intake can majorly improve staining, but, if you truly want to change the colour of your teeth...
A lot of people tend to put this on their New Year's Resolution list every year because the benefits of quitting smoking are ample, not just for your overall health, but for your mouth too!
Quitting smoking reduces your risk of gum disease and other mouth cancers, improves the colour of your teeth, and, best of all, helps you avoid smelling like a stale ashtray!
Think of the money you’ll save too! Pop the savings in a jar and treat yourself to that check up and clean you’ve been putting off.
Cut Back on Sugar
We know sugar is bad for you, but most people think it's because sugar causes that spare tyre around our waistlines.
But did you know sugar is horrible for your teeth and causes cavities?
Reduce your sugar intake to no more that 3-4 sugar attacks per day and try to keep to meal times only. Opt for safe snacks in between meals such as fresh fruit or vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheese, bread sticks and hummus. Hello happy mouth and healthy body!
Visit the Dentist Twice a Year
Adhering to your oral health on your own is imperative, but heading to the dentist is too. It’s recommended that you visit your dental hygienist at least two times a year to receive a professional cleaning.
Regular check-ups mean there's a medical record of any changes to your oral health. You can be screened for oral cancer, periodontitis and infections, among other concerns. Incorporating visits to the dentist as part of your oral hygiene routine is pivotal to maintaining a healthy mouth.