It’s that time of year again where we really take a look at ourselves to see how we can live better and healthier in the new year.
This is a time where you can be truly honest with yourself and create achievable goals, such as going to the gym more (this is definitely number one for me), eating healthier, spending more time with the family, or working towards that promotion.
However, the one problem that most will struggle with, and I am guilty of this, is that these New Year resolutions are usually the same ones from the year before — maybe even the year before that.
Here’s why creating mini goals are so important.
Yes, you’d like to exercise and go to the gym more, but how are you going to achieve this? Cardio once a week? Weightlifting twice a week?
The easiest way to achieve your New Year’s resolutions is to break them down into smaller, more achievable goals.
With consistency and a rock-solid game plan, you’re destined to fulfill your goals, and hopefully, the same goals aren’t carried over into the new year. (no promises here though).
To help you achieve a brighter, healthier smile here are five easy resolutions to improve your dental health.
1. Floss at least once a day
As much as you dislike flossing your teeth, it is one of the most effective ways to remove plaque build-up in between your teeth and preventing gum disease.
Unfortunately, brushing your teeth twice a day isn’t enough to completely remove bits of food that may be caught in between teeth, which can lead to the build-up of tartar and gingivitis.
Now, we understand dental floss can be a pain to use and this is where most people are usually deterred from flossing. However, thanks to floss picks, flossing has never been easier. You can find floss picks at your local grocers or just speak to your dentist.
To make sure you floss at least once a day, place the floss sticks right next to your toothbrush. This way you can pick a floss stick up right after you’ve finished brushing your teeth.
2. Cut back on the sweets
How many of us are guilty of consuming too much sugar? I can confirm, my goal of reducing my sugar intake has been a total sham during this holiday period, but new year new me right?
Australian research, the Australian Oral Health Tracker published in 2018, has shown that more than 70% of children aged 9-13 years are consuming too much sugar, with just under 50% for adults aged 19 and over.
Excess sugar consumption has been linked to a number of health issues, including weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, dental caries and gum disease.
The easiest way to reduce yours and your families sugar intake is to reduce the amount of sugary treats and drinks you buy. Opt for the sugar-free alternatives, and if you do consume anything high in sugar, rinse your mouth out with fluoridated water to dilute any sugar which may be stuck on the surface of the tooth
3. Eat more mouth-healthy foods
There are certain types of foods which can strengthen your teeth and improve dental health. While cutting back on sugary foods and drinks, there’s no better time to think about replacing them with more mouth-healthy foods.
Some foods to consider include:
- Carrots: full of fibre, great source of vitamin A and encourage production of saliva, which helps reduce the risk of cavities.
- Cheese: and other dairy products raise pH levels in the mouth and lowers the risk of tooth decay. Rich in calcium and protein, cheese can help strengthen the enamel.
- Fish: Rich in vitamin D, which is the active ingredient that helps your body absorb calcium effectively. Calcium helps strengthen the tooth enamel.
- Leafy greens: Super healthy and provide a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including fibre, calcium, folic acid and vitamin B.
Now before you go ahead and throw out everything from your fridge and pantry, remember — baby steps. Slowly integrate mouth-healthy foods into your diet one meal at a time.
4. Break the habit
We don’t need to remind you that smoking is bad. Smoking claims 19,000 Australian lives each year and is the leading cause of preventable death and disability, it’s also a major cause of tooth loss, gum disease and oral cancers. (taken from report that’s already linked in sweets section)
The best way to tackle this issue is to pick a specific date to give up the bad habit and dispose of everything smoking related from your home. Let your friends and family know about your resolution so they can ensure you receive the support needed to curb the habit.
To beat the cravings, engage in some health and fitness activities, get in contact with a health professional, or contact the QUIT hotline.
5. Book your routine dental visit
There’s a reason why your dentist recommends a regular 6-month dental check-up and it’s not because they miss seeing your face, although I’m sure they do.
But it’s because it’s the safest amount of time to allow for detection of any possible oral health issues, which includes tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.
It gives you the best chances of treating these sorts of issues in the earliest of stages, discuss treatment options, and how much it’s going to cost.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to remove the build-up of hardened plaque from your teeth in a routine scale and clean. Nothing beats the feeling of walking out of the dental clinic feeling fresh and clean.
During this time, your dentist is able to provide you with advice on how to improve your oral hygiene and care to minimise the risk of gum disease or any other severe oral health issues.
When was the last time you had a check-up? Kick your new year off with a brighter, healthier smile and tick off your first resolution. Book an appointment today.