It’s that time of year again when New Year’s resolutions are made, often targeting improved health and wellbeing for the year to come. Of course, it’s no secret that the vast majority of these resolutions are also well and truly broken before the end of January. Which is, in many cases, largely to do with the fact that they were too ambitious to keep in the first place.
Consequently, the key to making New Year’s resolutions stick lies in making them realistic. The kinds of simple yet beneficial lifestyle changes that are genuinely sustainable.
If healthier teeth and gums are on your ‘to-do’ list for 2022, this could be a great place to start.
Building towards better oral health can be surprisingly simple. It needn’t take up any more of your time, nor is it necessary to completely change your habits. Instead, it’s more about building your awareness of what’s good and not so good for your oral health. At which point, it becomes much easier to cut down on the latter.
For those in need of a little inspiration, here are 12 examples of simple yet highly effective New Year’s resolutions for healthier teeth and gums:
1. Floss Every Day
First up, research suggests that the vast majority of people still do not floss. Among those who do, most would confess to flossing on a rather sporadic basis. Certainly not on the daily basis they’re supposed to, which really can make all the difference to your oral health.
If you can get into the habit of flossing daily, you’ll benefit from a vastly reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Not to mention, fresher breath for the benefit of yourself and all others in your company!
2. Brush For 2 Minutes Each Time
Next time you brush your teeth, do so in your normal way and time how long it takes. Chances are, the whole cycle will not come close to the 2-minute mark. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time, dedicating 30 seconds to each quadrant of the mouth.
Rushing while brushing morning and night is something we all do from time to time. But if you aren’t giving your teeth the full 2 minutes on a regular basis, you’re not cleaning them properly. And for the record, the answer is no – brushing faster and/or more aggressively doesn’t mean you can get away with a shorter brushing time.
3. Cut Down on Acidic Foods
Cutting down on the amount of sugar you consume could work wonders for your health and wellbeing in general. But what’s important to remember is how switching to low-sugar alternatives doesn’t necessarily guarantee more mouth-friendly products. Many low-calorie and sugar-free foods are loaded with the kinds of acids that can do a number on your oral health.
Again, awareness holds the key to making sensible and informed decisions. If you’re consuming too many acidic foods and drinks on a daily basis, consider swapping some of them out for safer alternatives.
4. Quit Smoking
The pursuit of better oral health is far from the only justification for quitting smoking. If anything, the effect tobacco has on your teeth and gums should be the least of your concerns. Every cigarette smoked poses a direct threat to your health, your wellbeing and your life.
In any case, smoking massively increases the risk of tooth loss, gum disease and oral cancers. It also makes it practically impossible to keep bad breath at bay, and does your body no good whatsoever.
5. Cut Down on Staining Foods
Maintaining a beautiful bright smile long-term isn’t something that happens by accident. You can use the best teeth whitening kits the market has to offer, but preventative maintenance is just as important.
Things like chocolate, coffee, tea, coke, red wine, dark beer and berries can quickly remove the lustre from a pristine white smile. Slowly but surely, these and other staining foods will reverse all the benefits of your preferred whitening strips.
6. Switch to an Electric Toothbrush
Picking up the best electric toothbrushyou can afford comes highly recommended for a number of reasons. Firstly, it makes brushing your teeth to pristine perfection significantly easier. It also helps ensure you brush for the recommended 2 minutes, while preventing you from applying too much pressure and potentially damaging your teeth.
In addition, the latest electric toothbrushes with Bluetooth can make brushing more of a pleasure than a chore. Particularly for those who get a kick out of the latest gadgets, a sophisticated electric toothbrush can be quite the entertaining appliance!
7. Start Using a Tongue Scraper
These things have adorned the backs of toothbrushes for many years now, but are still used by comparatively few people. A tongue scraper is a simple yet effective oral hygiene tool, designed to remove the surface layer or germs, bacteria and general debris from the tongue.
If you knew exactly how much unpleasantness your tongue was harbouring, you’d have been using a scraper long before now. Brushing your tongue at the end of each cycle morning and evening can help, but tongue scrapers are designed specifically to get the job done more efficiently.
8. Stay Hydrated
Something else that will benefit your overall health and wellbeing this year is ensuring you stay adequately hydrated. Poor hydration leads to low saliva production, paving the way for problems like tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
Even today, research suggests that most people don’t drink nearly the recommended 2 litres of water per day. It’s a very minor lifestyle tweak that can nonetheless make a huge difference.
9. Use Mouthwash the Right Way
Increasingly, dentists are becoming quite vocal about the right and wrong way to use mouthwash. Contrary to popular belief, most people could actually benefit more by using mouthwash before brushing.
Which makes sense when you think about it, as to rinse with mouthwash after brushing is to wash away all the fluoride and other beneficial compounds left behind by the toothpaste.
10. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Last up, nobody can provide you with better advice on your oral health and wellbeing than your dentist. In which case, why not make 2022 the year you finally start visiting your dentist more often?
Bite the bullet, make that appointment and see just how far dentistry has come since your last visit. If it’s been some time since you booked a consultation, you might be surprised just how pleasant the whole thing can be these days!