New Year's resolutionsWest Michiganders, are you ready for 2018? Are your teeth? We thought we’d help you prepare for it by making a list of New Year’s resolutions you can implement for better oral health this year and many years into the future.

Regular Brushing and Flossing

Brush and floss. We hear this advice so often that we can forget how important it is, but brushing and flossing are the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If you’ve slacked off on either practice, a new year is a new chance to set that habit in stone. Remember, we brush the teeth we want to keep.

Add Mouthwash

Incorporating mouthwash into your daily routine for times when it’s not convenient to brush is another great way to improve your oral health while combating any embarrassing problems with bad breath. If you keep a small bottle with you in your purse or in your desk, you will always be prepared in case of bad breath emergency.

Routine Dental Cleanings

Seeing your dentist regularly is important in a number of ways, including  removing plaque from your teeth. The larger and more important purpose of these visits, however, is make sure that no small oral health problems are becoming bigger and harder-to-fix problems. Your dentist and dental hygienist can also consult with you about any pain or discomfort you are having so that you can take steps to eliminate it. Did you read the story this past June about the man who’d never gone to the dentist? His teeth…weren’t pretty, and now he has 11 fewer of them.

Quit Tobacco

Many people resolve to quit smoking to improve their general health, but quitting smoking is better for your oral health too. Smokers are twice as likely to need root canal treatments and to lose their teeth as nonsmokers. Smoking increases the likelihood of periodontal disease, cavities, and mouth pain. Chewing tobacco is also bad for your teeth and mouth, with rates of mouth cancer 50 times more likely for those who chew. Quitting tobacco can be a challenge because of the addictive nature of nicotine, so keep trying even if you have setbacks.

Whitening

The trendy thing in 2017 was using activated charcoal to whiten teeth. This is not a practice that dental professionals typically approve. There are several whitening options that dentists do recommend, though, and we’d be happy to let you know about them. Your teeth don’t have to keep being yellow with the right whitening program.

Good dental hygiene is a gift we can all give to ourselves, and it can make an enormous difference in your quality of life. People with good teeth are more likely to be successful and less likely to have pain or health complications that might result in expensive dental or medical care. When you make your New Year’s resolutions this December, don’t forget about your teeth!