2016 is fast approaching, and it’s time to set your goals for the upcoming year. Amid this year’s resolutions for weight loss and improved physical health, consider another important aspect of your wellbeing: your dental health. Your smile impacts your appearance and your self-esteem, and dental problems can increase your risk for other systemic health concerns. This year, why not set at least one resolution to safeguard your oral health? Your improved habits could have far-reaching effects for nearly every aspect of your life. Dr. Gershberg can help you identify the lifestyle changes that may be in your best interests, and he can provide important general dentistry to protect your smile in the year ahead.
1. Floss Every Day
Most people know that they should floss, but an alarming number of people neglect this important aspect of oral health. According to the American Dental Association®, only 4 in 10 adults floss daily. 20% of Americans never floss at all! Flossing is one of the most important things that you can do to protect your oral wellness, since it will help to eliminate bacteria and bits of food that become trapped between your teeth.
For ongoing dental health, you should floss at least once a day, typically before bed. Be gentle and never snap the floss down on your gums, as this can irritate the soft tissues. You should also use a curved, C-shaped motion to clean the area between your teeth and gums.
2. Learn Proper Brushing Techniques
Most people brush at least twice a day (though the ADA reports that 30% of adults do not do so). Nevertheless, poor brushing technique can be almost as detrimental and not brushing at all. To promote a healthy smile, you should brush your teeth with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Use gentle, circular motions, and be sure to address the tops, backs, and sides of your teeth. Finally, though it is important to brush after meals, you should wait about half an hour to avoid rubbing food particles into your dental enamel.
3. Kick Your Soda Habit
You may think that your daily soda consumption is fairly harmless, especially if you drink diet soda. However, carbonated beverages can wreck your smile. They are highly acidic and will eat into your dental enamel. As the top protective layer wears away, you will face a much higher risk for decay. In addition, enamel erosion can affect your appearance. Dentin, the underlying layer of tissue, is not as white as enamel. It is also more porous and, therefore, it stains more easily.
Of course, if you are drinking regular soda, the beverage is even more harmful. Sugar is one of the primary causes of dental decay. Bacteria thrive on sugars, and, as they feed, they will create acids. The acids will eat into your teeth, granting access to the microbes. Over time, a cavity will develop.
4. Drink More Water
Instead of drinking soda, reach for a glass of water. Not only is water free of harmful substances that could damage your teeth; it will also help to rinse out food particles and bacteria. Ideally, you should sip on water all day, but it is especially beneficial to do so during and after meals.
As an added benefit, city water typically contains fluoride, which will strengthen your enamel and prevent decay. If you normally drink bottled water, you may not be getting enough of this important mineral. Ask Dr. Gershberg if you would benefit from fluoride supplements.
5. Schedule Your Regular General Dentistry Visits
If you typically neglect your biannual appointments, make professional dental care your number one New Year’s resolution. Regular visits are essential for strong teeth and a beautiful grin. Even if you follow all proper protocol at home, it will not be enough to ensure your complete dental health. At each visit, our hygienist, Carlie, will perform a thorough dental cleaning. She will remove the stubborn bacteria, sticky tartar, and hard plaque that you will not be able to eradicate on your own. Without removal, these substances would eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Dr. Gershberg will also carry out an exam to look for the early warning signs of such conditions. With regular exams, he can often provide appropriate care before you suffer extensive damage or significant discomfort.
Need More Guidance for 2016?
If you are ready to improve your oral health in the new year, contact The Art of Dentistry today. We are happy to schedule your routine general dentistry care or to advise you about the best ways to enhance your dental maintenance.