It’s cliché, but committing to being healthier is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions in the world. It’s no surprise, as improved health can help someone feel better both mentally and physically, creating countless positive ripples in their personal and professional life. Before you sign up for a diet app or gym membership, consider how committing to enhancing your oral health might be a good idea. A healthier smile is more attractive, which can boost your confidence, plus you’ll lower your risk of dealing with serious (and expensive) dental issues in the future. Plus, getting started is much, much easier compared to other health-related resolutions. Here are a few simple ways you can take your smile to the next level in 2022.
1. Brush for Two Minutes Twice a Day
According to the American Dental Association, everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each. Unfortunately, most people tend to only brush once for about 30 seconds, meaning they are leaving a lot of cavity-causing plaque behind. Simply by brushing in the morning and evening and setting a timer on your phone (if you don’t have an electric toothbrush with an automatic one), you can vastly lower your risk for cavities and gum disease while also guaranteeing you have fresh breath when you head out the door!
2. Start Flossing…Gradually
As effective as brushing is, it can’t really clean the spaces between your teeth—that’s what flossing is for! Of course, some people would rather walk into traffic than floss regularly, but the key is to start slow. You only need to floss in the evening, and initially, just do it once or twice a week. After a while, add a few more days, and eventually, it will become a normal part of your oral hygiene routine. This will give you even more protection from cavities while also making your mouth feel nice and clean.
3. Limit the Snacking
This one might go hand-in-hand with resolutions that involve losing weight, but limiting snacking is also great for your pearly whites. When you graze throughout the day, this exposes your teeth to sugar for several hours, which fuels harmful oral bacteria. To curve your cravings, you can chew sugar-free gum and eat more fibrous vegetables, which will help you feel fuller between meals.
4. Bring on the Water!
Another way to help curb your need for snacks is to simply drink more water. This will help you stay hydrated while avoiding the mountain of sugar that is added to most sodas and energy drinks. And, water has other benefits as well. It gives your teeth a nice rinse throughout the day, and if you’re drinking tap water, you’re also being exposed to fluoride that is actively strengthening your enamel.
5. Get Two Checkups & Cleanings
In addition to modifying your habits at home, it’s also important that you receive at least two professional checkups and cleanings each year. A hygienist will be able to remove the plaque and tartar that you can’t at home (everyone has trouble spots), plus your dentist will have the chance to spot potential problems early so they can be treated quickly and conservatively.
All of this sounds much easier than getting up at 6 AM to hit the gym, right? If you want to start 2022 on the right foot and feel successful, doubling down on your oral health is a great way to go. The benefits are outstanding, you’ll notice a difference quickly, and the effort required is minimal, which should give you plenty of reasons to smile!
About the Author
Dr. Michael Kirk has been serving the Oklahoma City area for over 25 years as a general, implant, and cosmetic dentist. His goal is to not only help his patients fix their dental problems, but prevent them in the first place when possible. If you’re hoping to have a healthier and happier 2022, he’s more than ready to help you turn that goal into a reality. For questions about improving your oral hygiene, or to schedule your next checkup and cleaning, click here.