We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions about many different things every year. Some people make the resolution to save, others to meet that special someone, and many others want to lose weight and look great. Well, here at Morris Park Dental, let us direct your attention to a different kind of New Year’s Resolution… Oral and Dental Health!
I. Don’t wait until “it hurts” to get it checked out
One of the biggest and most common mistakes made by people is not going to see their dentists for their regular check-ups. If you visit your Bronx dentist at least once or twice a year, your Bronx dental team could oversee and prevent dental health problems early. You could even save money, and time, because the facts are this: Someone who goes to the dentist seldom will most likely require more than a simple dental procedure. More extensive and expensive treatment will most likely be required, which will lead you to have a less enjoyable visit. So, brush your teeth and floss every day, twice a day, (even after every meal for those A+ patients) make your regular 6 month full-mouth exam and cleaning, and actually keep your appointment! (Click here to schedule your appointment at Morris Park Dental now or call (718) DR.SMILE (718-377-6453) )
II. STICK to Good Oral Habits This Year
And we mean it! Even if you have to place a Sticky Note on your mirror.
Who likes the feel of that thin layer of temporary plaque on your teeth? No one does! Plaque though, doesn’t just feel gross; it is actually harmful bacteria that can build up on your teeth and gums every day… This is why brushing and flossing regularly is very essential. Many people avoid flossing because they don’t know how, or because they think it’s too much work, or because they find it disgusting. Well the truth is, brushing only, will NOT remove ALL of the plaque from your teeth. Plaque also grows in between teeth and below the gumline, the only way to reach those areas, would to floss them. If you have a hard time flossing, we urge you to ask your hygienist, dental assistant or dentist properly instruct you the way to do this (trust me, you might even start to enjoy it)
Facts: Did you know that decay and gum disease often begin below the gumline, and in between the teeth? Did you know that bleeding, swollen gums, gingivitis, and other gum diseases can develop if proper and regular brushing and flossing is not prevalent? Did you know that mouth diseases could affect the rest of your body?
Try this at home: THE FLOSS CHALLENGE! (For those who don’t believe that flossing makes a difference)
1. Eat a hardy meal, with your favorite meats, greens, pastas, and desert.
2. After your meal, and a little bit of digestion, go brush your teeth. (BRUSH ONLY)
3. Notice how ‘fresh and clean’ your mouth feels! You may think, “Oh, my teeth are brushed, my mouth is clean, there’s no need to floss”
4. Now take your floss of choice, (not those little individual ones, but the floss in the dispenser) floss in between each tooth… notice anything? Yep! Those are food particles, plaque, and many other foreign objects left behind from before.
5. Now marvel at the fact that flossing is absolutely essential to the contribution of a clean and healthy mouth. Even after thorough brushing, of the surfaces, your teeth are not completely clean! So I’m hoping that you are now a believer and you will brush AND floss regularly.
III. Stay Away From Bad Oral Habits!
Are you a smoker, or a heavy drinker? Please continue to read this, and head these lifesaving warnings. Virtually everyone knows by now, that the use of tobacco may harm your mouth gravely, in more ways than one. It increases the risk of cancer, tooth discoloration, cavities, dry mouth, gum recession, dry socket and sometimes it may even cause you to have a lower pain tolerance.
Facts: Did you know that smokeless tobacco is just as harmful to your oral and overall health? Did you know that smokers are twice as likely to lose their teeth and have gum diseases, compared to non-smokers? Did you know that your high risks can decrease after quitting smoking, or using smokeless tobacco?
For those who binge drink or consume high amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, listen up. You’ve always heard that alcohol can affect your liver, your overall health, etc… but that is not all that it can affect. Taking in an excessive amount of alcohol may affect your oral health as well, causing increased gum recession, gum disease, and more. So limit your alcohol intake, and take good care of your oral hygiene.
Get help, get support, and if you fall, just get back up, don’t just stay down! It’s a new year, and anything is possible.
IV. Your Teeth Are What They Eat
Who would have thought that eating well would be important to dental health? Well I guess that New Year’s resolution of losing weight can finally kick off right now. Studies show that poor nutrition can actually affect the immune system, which increases susceptibility to numerous common oral disorders. So, drink plenty of water, eat lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Facts: Fruits and Vegetables contain antioxidants that can improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria, and inflammation; this helps not only to protect your teeth and gums, but also helps you to heel well and fast. Did you know that raw and crisp fruits and veggies i.e. crunchy apples, crunchy raw carrots and celery can contribute to cleaning plaque from teeth, and even freshen your breath?
V. Educate Yourself and Your Children this year
Starting very young is not at all frowned upon, in fact, it is to be applauded. Take your children to go see the dentist and to get acquainted with the staff, have them sit in the chair, just to get the feel of it, before an actual dental appointment visit, so he or she doesn’t feel intimidated, scared or perhaps traumatized. Ask for permission of your dentist and the staff first, it usually shouldn’t be a problem, as long as they have previous knowledge.
Infants: If you live in an area without fluoridated water, you can make sure your kids get their fluoride by using tablets, drops or gel and by having topical fluoride treatments applied at the dental office (you can find that out by calling your local water company or your local health department.) Using fluoride toothpastes and rinses are also effective. A healthy and balanced diet is not just important for adults, but children as well. Children especially need calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium are milk, cheese and yogurt. Research shows that eating cheese after meals seems to prevent the effects of decay-causing acids. As much as possible, avoid giving your kids snacks containing sugar or starch.
By the age of 3: Children should be brushing their own teeth under adult supervision. Only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is necessary. Start flossing your child’s teeth daily when all the primary teeth are in or when teeth are touching each other.
By the age of 8: Children should be able to brush and floss by themselves, with occasional checks. Turn brushing and flossing into a fun and daily routine. Make it fun by having your child pick out his or her own colorful toothbrush, with perhaps their favorite cartoon character and bubble gum-flavored floss.
Here is a tip: Today, many of the kids’ shows feature dentist appointment episodes, or how to brush your teeth episodes. Take advantage of these, to help your child see that it is actually a good thing and show them by your example how fun, but yet how important and necessary it is to have good oral hygiene habits.
VI. Take A Plan Of Action NOW!
Get yourself a journal, take up a new hobby, or revisit an old one. Undoubtedly, you will work hard this year, so take care of your body, and it can take care of you. Ultimately the body does not just consist of one or two limbs, nor does it just run on one or two organs. The entire body is an inclusive machine that works together with every inch of it involved. This does not exclude your mouth.
Write down your goals. Number them. Be honest, and realistic. Write down what practical steps you will take to reach those goals. Document your actions every week to monitor your progress, obstacles, and positive outcomes. By the end of the year, go back and read your journal from beginning to end, and see what you’ve accomplished. In dentistry, caring for your mouth is more than just brushing flossing, or check-ups, but it is about your overall health, and happiness. We want to help to contribute to those things, in any way possible. Therefore this New Year, make the resolution to take better care of your mouth, don’t you think it deserves it? It helps to feed you every day; it makes kissing that cute little baby of yours special. It is the least you can do for your mouth… and yourself.