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It’s Not Too Late To Make These 5 Oral Health Resolutions

Another year has come and gone. The New Year doesn’t change everything, but you can take steps to make sure it changes your oral health for the better! 

Whether you’re reading this at the start of the New Year or halfway through, it’s never too late to make positive changes in your oral care routine. Not sure where to begin? These five suggestions should give you a push in the right direction.  

Start (Finally) Flossing

According to the ADA, only 16% of Americans floss their teeth at least once a day. Now is the perfect time to become a part of that 16%. After all, flossing is essential to your overall oral health. 

Brushing can only remove plaque and debris from the visible surfaces of your teeth. Flossing is critical to scrape away the bacteria lurking between your teeth. Plaque loves to accumulate in those dark crevices, and only the action of flossing can reach into those tight spaces and remove plaque, bacteria, sugar, and acids. 

Flossing isn’t complicated, even if it’s not your favorite evening activity. The process is simple once you learn and practice:

  • Use about one foot of dental floss and wrap all but 2-3 inches around your middle finger
  • Use your thumb and forefingers to guide the floss in-between the teeth
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline
  • Move the floss up and down to clean the side of each tooth
  • Use a floss holder or disposable floss pick if needed, especially for children

If conventional floss isn’t your cup of tea, explore different options like interdental brushes, hand-held floss picks, and water flossers. You can choose the flossing device that you find most comfortable and convenient. As long as it removes the plaque sitting between your teeth, it’s a win. 

Choose Smile-Friendly Foods

The food you eat also significantly influences your overall oral health. By choosing tooth-friendly foods, you can brighten your smile and make your brushing routine more powerful.

The instant that food enters your mouth, changes start to occur. If the foods you eat are rich in sugars and carbohydrates, they are immediately converted into acids, and those acids begin attacking the teeth and triggering decay. By swapping highly processed, sugar-laden foods with fresh, whole food options, you can prevent a number of dental problems and even encourage your teeth and gums to remain as healthy as possible. 

Make it your resolution to eat more of the following smile-friendly food choices:

  • Foods rich in vitamin C and D: bell peppers, oranges, broccoli, berries, fish, eggs
  • Foods rich in calcium and phosphorus: milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds, lean red meat
  • Foods with high water content: carrots, cucumbers, apples, celery

Make (and Keep) a Date With Your Dentist

Visiting your dentist every six months is an essential element of preventative care. Each appointment gives your Long Beach dentist the opportunity to evaluate your gums, teeth, tongue, and throat. Most importantly, it gives your dentist the chance to take note of any changes since your last appointment. Even subtle changes can indicate a potential problem or concern. 

Preventative oral care isn’t just about finding cavities; your dentist needs to assess the condition of your entire oral system. If you skip appointments or only see your dentist every few years, it becomes much harder to identify and treat problems like decay and disease before they cause widespread damage.

Make your resolution to set an appointment and return every six months to receive the comprehensive care and attention your teeth and gums truly need. 

Get an Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is an especially severe type of cancer that forms inside the mouth and often develops without any obvious signs or symptoms. 

If you smoke, you’re automatically at higher risk for oral cancer than a non-smoker. A few other lifestyle choices and medical conditions may increase your risk for oral cancer as well, including heavy alcohol intake and years of unprotected sun exposure. 

Fortunately, oral cancer screenings are quick, simple, and non-invasive. During the screening, your dentist examines your entire oral cavity, including your jaw, tongue, gumline, and throat. Though oral cancer affects nearly 50,000 Americans every year and kills almost 10,000 adults annually, it’s highly treatable with radiation therapy when detected early through an oral cancer screening!

Can you think of a more meaningful way to spend 10 minutes in the New Year? 

Take Your At-Home Routine to the Next Level with DIY Tricks

If you already take pretty good care of your mouth, bring your oral care routine to the next level by adding a few new DIY tricks to your repertoire. 

Oral pulling is a great place to start. This ancient practice involves swishing with coconut, sesame, olive, or sunflower oil for 15 minutes, then spitting the oil into the trash. According to Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling purifies gum tissue by pulling toxins out. The powerful properties of the oils may also inhibit the bacteria responsible for cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and bad breath. 

You can also experiment with making your own mouthwash. Essential oils like tea tree and peppermint naturally fight bacterial infections and kill oral pathogens while nurturing tissue regeneration. As a result, essential oils offer a safe, natural, and powerful way to counteract gingivitis, reduce inflammation, and prevent the conditions that plaque and tartar love.

Try this recipe for a very happy mouth:

  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 2 tsp baking soda

Just swish and spit twice a day to combat unwanted plaque all year long. 

It’s important to partner with the right dentist to keep your smile as healthy as possible, this year and beyond. Dr. Steven Pakiz and his team are committed to listening to your needs and concerns in order to give you the personalized, high-quality care you deserve. Request an appointment today to start your New Year off right.