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New Years Resolutions

Megan MazarellaDr. Megan Mazzarella

The start of the New Year is an opportunity to make some healthy changes that can not only improve your dental health, but your overall health as well.

If you’ve been neglecting your oral health, consider these five dental health resolutions that can reduce your risk for tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. Make a commitment to your dental health in 2018.

Use an ultrasonic toothbrush.

If you’ve never used an ultrasonic toothbrush, you’ll immediately notice a difference in how clean your teeth feel after brushing. Ultrasonic toothbrushes use a vibrating motion to remove plaque along the gumline and in hard-to-reach areas. The vibration of the toothbrush does the work for you so it’s easier to brush your teeth.

An ultrasonic toothbrush also cuts down on gum recession because people don’t feel the need to push down so hard with the bristle. Some brushes will beep at you if you’re brushing too hard.

Using an ultrasonic brush may also reduce tooth sensitivity.

Commit to flossing regularly.

If you really want to improve your oral health, flossing twice a day can reduce your risk for periodontitis. Flossing is the best thing you can do at home to help remove the bacteria growing under your gumline. Gum disease is serious; it’s the No. 1 reason people lose a tooth or have bone loss.

If you don’t floss at all right now, any amount of flossing you do will make a difference. Ideally, you should floss twice a day. You can always ask your dentist or dental hygienist for tips on how to floss properly.

Some people who dislike flossing find that they love using a water flosser such as Waterpik. Although water flossers are not as effective as regular flossing, they do help flush out food debris and particles.

Resolve to see your dentist twice a year.

This is an easy dental health resolution to keep. Make it a priority to get your teeth cleaned twice a year. When you visit your dentist regularly, you’re less likely to develop cavities and plaque buildup, where bacteria grow. If you have a dental problem, the sooner you seek treatment, the easier it is to address.

Quit smoking.

This resolution can take some work and planning. You might need to ask your doctor for help, too. The health benefits, however, are unrivaled. When you quit smoking, your health begins to improve immediately and your risk for oral cancer and other diseases will decrease over time. Check out the tips at smokefree.gov to create a smoking cessation plan.

Another perk to giving up smoking is a brighter smile. Smoking significantly increases the amount of stains on your teeth.

As a reward for quitting smoking, celebrate your accomplishment by having your teeth whitened.

Cut down your sugar intake.

Reducing sugar in your daily diet can make a difference in your overall oral health. Even eliminating just one sugary treat or drink as a dental health resolution can help prevent cavities. Do you have a soda every afternoon? Try switching to something that doesn’t contain sugar. What about dessert after dinner? If you need something sweet, try having a piece of fruit, which contains far less sugar than a bowl of ice cream. Always brush your teeth after meals.

While you’re watching your sugar intake, make sure to rinse your mouth with water throughout the day. Sipping on water is an easy way to help remove any leftover sugars in your mouth. It can also help people who have dry mouth, a condition that puts them at risk for more cavities.

Dr. Mazzarella sees patients at Konikoff Dentistry’s office at 684 N.  Battlefield Blvd., in Chesapeake. Request an appointment online or call 1-800-SMILE-23.

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