Three Healthy Dental Habits to Get into This Year

Three Healthy Dental Habits to Get into This Year

As we enter a new year, it’s always a great time to take a look at your life and assess what changes or improvements need to be made.  We do this all the time in the new year, setting resolutions, pledging to end bad habits and make positive changes.  Most of the changes and improvements you will make this year won’t happen all at once; they will happen gradually, one day at a time.  This is the case for your dental health as well.  If you’ve never had good or proper dental hygiene practices, it may feel overwhelming to think about making changes now.  But we want to encourage you, just like anything else, if you make small changes to your routine every day, we guarantee your mouth will be healthier and happier by the end of the year.  In addition, as you develop these dental habits, things that once seemed arduous and time-consuming may soon become second-nature.  We bet you’ll even really love your sparkling, clean-feeling smile!

  1. Properly brush and floss your teeth.

You may be thinking, “Oh good!  I already do this one!”  And you may be right, but now is a great time to re-evaluate your daily brushing and flossing regimen and ensure you are doing it the right way.  While most people remember to brush their teeth twice a day, few actually brush for a long enough time.  The American Dental Association recommends brushing for a full two minutes each time.  If you’re not in the habit of brushing for this long, at first it will feel like a long time.  Try setting a timer on your phone for a while to get used to brushing for the full two minutes.  To help your kids brush for the proper amount of time, consider downloading an app like “Brush DJ,” which plays music for two minutes.

Another important tip to remember is that you do not have to brush hard or forcefully.  This is another benefit of brushing for the full two minutes.  Many people brush their teeth hard and fast, which can actually be quite damaging to the teeth and gums.  Brushing for two minutes will remind you to take your time and to use slow, gentle motions.

If you aren’t doing this already, now is a great time to get in the habit of flossing your teeth once a day.  This will probably feel like a chore at first, but if you get in the habit of flossing, it will soon become quick and easy.  You may even come to enjoy this part of your dental routine.  Flossing can make your gums less sensitive and bleed less, and it removes germs from your teeth that simply brushing cannot do.

  1. Avoid or limit certain foods and drinks.

While you may be attempting to change your diet this year in order to lose weight, making good food and drink choices is also crucial for your oral health.  Bacteria eats the sugary things we eat and then the bacteria causes decay.  Enamel is what protects your teeth from bacteria, and without it, your teeth are left exposed and will soon form cavities.  A little sugar every now and then is ok—don’t brush immediately after eating/drinking these things. Either rinse with water immediately or wait 20 minutes and then brush.  But habitual sugar intake, like drinking sugary sodas multiple times a day or regularly eating sweets and candies, can be extremely harmful to your teeth.  Conversely, eating lots of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water is actually good for your teeth!

  1. Regularly visit your dentist.

If you feel like you’re lacking in these first two habits, you may be even more hesitant to go to the dentist for fear you’ll be reprimanded or find out some bad news.  Rest assured, avoiding your dentist will only cause more problems in the long run.  The best way to avoid serious problems is by detecting them early.  The American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup.  Your dentist will be able to spot any potential problems and help you come up with a solution.

Whether you have already incorporated these healthy dental habits into your daily life or you’re just starting out, we would love to help you with all of your dental needs at Cornerstone Family Dentistry.  Make an appointment with us today!