New Year’s dental resolutions.

NewYearNewYou_Jan2013

It’s a brand new year! It’s a time when many of us make resolutions to get healthy, look better, and save money. Make a resolution to improve your oral health and you can accomplish all three! A sparkling, healthy smile can make a big difference in the way you look and feel. And, when you get into the habit of taking care of your teeth, you can avoid more expensive dental procedures down the road.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled some easy-to-follow tips to put you on the road to better dental health–and a better you–in the new year.

  1. Eat your veggies: A healthy diet is essential for a healthy smile, and certain vegetables are especially beneficial. Broccoli helps form an acid-resistant film on the teeth, which can guard against decay. Avocados are a good source of folate, which reduces your risk of gum disease. And crunching on raw veggies like celery and carrots helps clean plaque off the teeth.
  2. Cut back on the booze: Excessive drinking is associated with increased risk of gum recession and periodontal problems, as well as making your look older (it’s the origin of the phrase “long in the tooth”). Plus, people tend to snack on unhealthy food when they’re drinking, and sometimes forget to brush before bed.
  3. Brush twice and floss once daily: It’s the least you can do to maintain your oral health. As you know, both are essential for removing plaque. If you’re tempted to skip the flossing, keep in mind that brushing only reaches about 60% of tooth surfaces. You need floss to reach the gum disease and decay-causing plaque between the teeth.
  4. Get a checkup and cleaning every 6 months: This is something many healthy people tend to put off. But these maintenance visits are important for catching little problems early, when they’re relatively easy and inexpensive to fix. Professional cleanings are also recommended for eliminating calculus (tartar) buildup on your teeth.
  5. Invest in your smile: Got a sensitive tooth? Persistent bad breath? Pain while chewing? These are all signs of dental problems which, unlike some health issues, don’t get better on their own. The earlier you get treatment, the better off you’ll be, so why not make a resolution to take care of any “little” problems in 2013?

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