Brushing your teeth twice a day might be in the basic oral health instructions from the American Dental Association, but with a brand new year just around the corner NOW is the perfect time to up the ante on your oral health care game. Want to give yourself the gift of improvement on your pearly whites this year? Then here are some resolutions you can make to your overall dental hygiene that will give you lasting results.

Resolution #1 - I Will Cut Back on My Sugar Intake

This just in: Sugar is bad for your teeth. Ok, that’s old news, but did you know that sugar is one of the top causes of tooth decay because of how it feeds on the bacteria (a.k.a. plaque) in your mouth? Bacteria is a top producer of acid, which destroys the enamel on your teeth. Here are some tips from the WHO (World Health Organization,) to help you cut down on your sugar intake:

1. Lower the amount of sugar you drink from liquids such as: carbonated drinks, fruit juices, energy and sports drinks, and flavored water.

2. If you’re going to snack between meals, choose healthy fresh snacks over processed ones. Processed foods are filled with added sugars and it’s sadistic sidekick, high fructose corn syrup.

3. Don’t add sugar to any foods you give to children under the age of 2, and beyond that age sugar intake should be limited.

Resolution #2- I Will Floss Daily

The American Dental Association recommends cleaning BETWEEN your teeth at least once a day. Whether you use wood, water or waxed floss, be consistent.

Here are some products on the market that you can use.

Wax:  To wax, or not to wax? That is the question! And the answer is: It’s actually your choice, and as long as you are cleaning in between your teeth, waxed or non-waxed, you are good.  If you’re one of those people who just can’t remember to floss, then one helpful tip is to stash a container of it somewhere such as, near your toothbrush, in your purse or briefcase, or in your desk at the office, as a reminder.

Water: Waterpik Water Flossers are high on the American Dental Association’s Council of Scientific Affairs. The group has awarded five Waterpik products with its ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Waterpik has been shown to reach some of the most difficult areas in the mouth, thanks to the product’s motor, which pumps streams of pulsating water to remove particles between the teeth, that most regular brushing or flossing can’t reach.

Wood: One of the most popular and effective products on the market is Stim-U-Dent. What makes Stim-U-Dent special is how easy it is to use and the good results it generates. The soft, flexible, wooden cleaners easily remove the plaque from between your teeth. You might mistake them for toothpicks but, upon closer examination, you’ll notice one end is shaped so that it can be easily inserted between your teeth. It’s so genius that The Smithsonian even has a packet of Stim-U-Dent in their permanent collection at the museum, just to brag about the product’s inventiveness.

Resolution #3 - I Will Quit Smoking

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that smoking tobacco products doubles your risk for gum disease, in addition to several other diseases. Smoking also stains teeth, causes bad breath and affects your sense of taste. Quitting smoking is not easy so don’t be afraid to ask for support if you need it. The CDC also suggests setting a quit date and seeking a behavioral distraction when those nicotine cravings hit you hard. Your general practitioner can also join you in battling the habit with the use of certain medications and over the counter aides.  

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