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Keep Your Teeth Healthy in the New Year: 8 Tips and Tricks for a Winning Smile

Happy new year! And with a new year comes, yes, you guessed it–New Year’s Resolutions!

If your resolutions this year revolve around your physical health, be sure to include some goals for your dental health too! We have some great tips to help you keep your winning smile and feel good all around.

Start the new year off right by following these steps.

Steer away from sugary drinks

Unfortunately, most of the drinks we like most are full of sugar or substances that can strip minerals from your teeth. We are talking about sodas, drinks with citrus or carbonation, and hot sugary beverages. We advise our patients to try and steer clear of soda and other sugary drinks. One of the leading causes of tooth decay is sugar consumption. Not only do sugary drinks weaken the tooth enamel, but the carbonation, acids, and sugar also encourage bacterial growth in your mouth and your teeth, which contribute to cavities.

Drink plenty of water

Instead of opting for sugary drinks in 2022, consider drinking more water for one of your resolutions. Not only will this help curb your cravings and help you avoid gaining some extra weight, but it’s also perfect for keeping your mouth hydrated and clean. Plaque won’t be able to build up in a hydrated mouth. Acids from plaque, food, and beverages can cause harm to your tooth enamel, but drinking water throughout the day helps dilute acids and helps protect your teeth from decay. We recommend drinking water after every meal.

Choose healthier food options

New year, new food! That’s how the saying goes, right?

As you start meal planning or even when eating out, make a conscious decision to pick healthier menu options. One way to ensure you keep your teeth healthy is to include sides of roasted seasonal vegetables and a salad to balance out your meals. Eating healthy vegetables and nutritional meals will not only mean your diet contains more healthy fiber, but it’s also the best choice for your teeth.

Practice good oral hygiene

Practicing good oral hygiene is vital for your teeth. This means brushing for two minutes, twice a day. If you are not familiar with the correct method for brushing your teeth or if you want to improve your brushing method, we recommend you follow a proper brushing technique.

Make sure you use a manual or electric toothbrush, ensuring that you brush in circular motions – not back and forth. Also, ensure you’re touching every surface and use fluoride toothpaste; fluoride plays a vital role in the fight against tooth decay. When you’re finished brushing, don’t rinse with water straight after. This can wash the protective fluoride away. Spit out any excess toothpaste instead.

Don’t forget to floss at least daily. Flossing can help reach those difficult areas between your teeth and dislodge any remaining food, protecting you from gum disease and bad breath by removing small foods and plaque that form along the gum line.

Lastly, protect your mouth while you’re on the go. If brushing your teeth is not feasible, you can always rinse with a fluoride mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum after having a meal or snacking.

Limit stress

While the new year can be a time for new beginnings, it can also bring a lot of stress as you try to maintain your new goals. Stress and anxiety can not only wreak havoc on your mental health, but they can also affect the health of your teeth. That’s because when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to clench and grind your teeth, which can cause damage to the teeth and the tooth enamel. Relaxation techniques are beneficial for this, especially before you head to bed. Practicing breathing techniques and meditation are two great methods for reducing your stress levels before bed.

Avoid hard and chewy candy

Leftover sweets and treats from your stocking may be tempting as we start the new year, but let’s leave those in 2021. And although desserts can be sumptuously irresistible, unfortunately, they aren’t the best dietary option for keeping our teeth healthy. You don’t have to refuse tasty desserts, but you can indulge in healthier dessert options.

If you want to have candy or other treats, you should consume them in moderation. Eating one dessert is far better than continuously snacking. Plus, you can choose snacks that are good for your teeth, simultaneously satisfying your need for a treat while protecting your teeth from too much exposure to sugar.

Avoid using your teeth as tools

As tempting as it is, please make sure that you’re not using your teeth as a multi-purpose tool, because they’re not. When you use them for purposes other than eating, there is a considerable risk that it can lead to fractures, cracks, chips, and broken teeth.

Schedule a post-holiday dental visit

Apart from maintaining good oral hygiene, having regular dental checkups and cleanings can be vital to avoiding dental emergencies in the upcoming year. While our everyday habits are crucial to our overall oral health, even the most dutiful flossers and brushers should visit a dentist for a good cleaning every six months. We recommend that you schedule your post-holiday cleaning and check-up. Not only will your teeth thank you for it, but you can make sure that your gums and teeth get back on track for the upcoming year.