Are you one to make new year resolutions? There's a certain sense of a clean slate when the calendar ticks over to January 1st, making it a great opportunity to examine your daily habits and create some changes. So if you've decided to make your health a priority for 2017, include looking after your mouth as part of it. Here are my top 4 tips you can do this year to make sure your smile is in tip top shape.
Visit a dentist
When I see a new patient, I always ask when was the last time they saw a dentist for a checkup. It's always interesting to hear the different takes on it. "Oh it's been aaaaages, at least 6 months!", through to, "I went once when I was 12, that was 20 years ago". However long it's been, making that checkup appointment is the first great step towards securing your dental health. Finding problems early means less invasive treatment. Even if you think you've got a tonne of issues that you're hoping will go away if nobody officially diagnoses them, get in to see a dentist. Those problems aren't going to get smaller with time, so the sooner you go the better the outcome will be. There's also a raft of preventive measures that can be taken if your dentist identifies you being at risk of disease, so it's never a waste of time. If you're worried about being judged for a long lapse between visits, please don't be. Your dentist should be happy to see that you're ready to make a change. If that's not the case, find another dentist who is a better fit for you.
Update your toothbrush
Toothbrushes do wear out. With average use, your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months. When a toothbrush gets worn out the bristles become stiff and deformed. They're no longer the correct shape for good brushing, and can become too abrasive if they're caked in a year's worth of old toothpaste. It can also be unhygienic depending on how well you've cleaned your brush, so start the new year with some fresh bristles for a clean and healthy mouth.
Get good at flossing
For someone to form a habit it takes somewhere in the vicinity of a month. Flossing is such an important part of your daily oral hygiene routine, as it removes plaque from in between teeth where your brush can't reach. If you dedicate the start of the year to practicing flossing every day, you'll get better and faster at it, and eventually it will become a daily habit which only has benefits for your health.
Eating and drinking sugar isn't good for us, we all know that. Start the new year by targeting this big diet no-no with a focus on your teeth. The frequency of sugar intake, rather than the total amount, is what makes the biggest difference when it comes to decay. Your mouth needs time to recover from every sugary and acidic assault your teeth come into contact with. Making the commitment to reduce sugary drinks and snacking is one of the easiest ways to keep your teeth protected. Save the sugar for special occasions, or at very least to meal times, and drink plain water wherever possible.
These few little changes can make a huge impact on the health of your teeth. Start the new year with a fresh attitude; show your teeth love and respect and they will love you back!