New Year’s resolutions for your mouth

Eat healthy, get in shape, lose weight. Sound familiar?  These popular New Year’s resolutions top most peoples’ list. But what about dental health?

My passion, as what I like to call a health-centered dentist, is helping people achieve overall dental health. This means healthy gums, teeth, muscles of mastication and Temporomandibular joints – i.e. the entire oral system.

This belief is rooted in the philosophy that the mouth is an excellent indicator for whole-body health. Why?  Well, plaque (the yucky white stuff on and in-between your teeth) is made up of food particles, saliva and bacteria. The bacteria produces acid, causing teeth to decay (cavities) and gums to deteriorate (periodontal disease).

These harmful microorganisms then travel from your mouth throughout your body and are linked to cardiovascular disease and even infertility, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

Take a look at the five tips below, all focused on improving your 2013 dental health.

Prioritize your cleaning appointments. If you’re prone to rescheduling, more than likely you’ve missed a few of your six-month check-ups. Unfortunately, the more you reschedule or miss your cleanings, the more likely you are to experience a dental problem. By keeping these simple visits, you stay accountable to your dental health.

No pain does not mean no problem.  Dental decay and periodontal disease pose a silent threat to your dental health. The nerves that cause dental pain are deep within teeth. By the time these nerves hurt, the restorative treatment is more extensive, more costly and requires more time in the dental chair.

Boost your energy the old fashioned way. That means a good night’s sleep and exercise. Energy drinks and soda sound like an easy way to pep up and get through the day, but they’re full of sugar. When sipped, they stick to your teeth and cause decay. So give your body what it really needs for energy: eight hours of sleep and a little exercise. Your teeth will thank you later.

When brushing, 2 is the magic number. Brush a minimum of two times a day, morning and night. Brush effectively for two solid minutes. It’s never too late to start.

Write down your dental goals. This tip works wonders for all goals in life because it makes them concrete – Your mouth is no exception. If your first goal is brushing for two minutes every night, write it down and stick it to the bathroom mirror. That little reminder will help you brush longer and stick to it.

So take the challenge, change some habits and reap the rewards. A healthier mouth means a healthier 2013. No one can care more about the health of your teeth than you do!