January always brings with it a set of resolutions – goals and habits we hope to achieve in the New Year. Here at Dental Depot, we feel the most important habits start with your mouth, and so we’ve gathered some of the best resolutions you can keep to get you on track for a healthy, beautiful smile. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to make it stick.
Brush twice a day, for two minutes at a time.
Your day is busy – we get it, but unfortunately, your mouth doesn’t. Brushing your teeth to this schedule is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your mouth healthy. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently move the brush back and forth. Make sure to get the outer surface, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Don’t worry – if you’re doing it correctly, it should take two minutes.
- Find a two-minute song you like to brush to or use a toothbrush like Quip or the Oral-B Genius, which have timing indicators to make sure you’re brushing long enough.
- Find a toothbrush you like. If you have a toothbrush you like, you’ll be more inclined to use it. Not sure what kind of toothbrush is right for you? Check out this blog to see the pros and cons of both manual and electric toothbrushes.
- Lastly, replace your toothbrush or brush head every 3-4 months to make sure that the bristles aren’t frayed or worn down, making sure you get a good clean.
Floss once a day. No, seriously.
Brushing your teeth isn’t enough to cut it, and as much as we all tell our dental hygienists, “yeah, I floss,” and you only mean when food gets stuck between your teeth, flossing is an important and often overlooked step in oral hygiene. The goal of flossing is to remove plaque buildup between teeth – like the 40% of bacteria you’re missing by only brushing. Plaque is made up of destructive bacteria which can lead to dental problems like gingivitis and decay.
- Don’t like the string version of flossing? Try a flosser or an oral irrigator like WaterPik to get between your teeth and under your gum line.
- Avoid toothpicks, especially the wooden ones – they are likely to break and a splinter can become lodged in your gums. Additionally, toothpicks are easy to swallow and can hurt your throat and internal organ. In some cases, toothpicks have even killed people – nearly as many as sharks do each year (about four).
- If you do feel the need to pick, grab an interdental or proxy brush to gently remove plaque between your teeth. These tiny brushes look like little Christmas trees and come in different sizes to meet your needs.
Visit the dentist twice a year for your cleaning and check-up.
Preventative dentistry is perhaps the best dentistry (and the kind that your insurance is likely to cover almost entirely) because it saves you time and money by helping you to avoid needing dental treatment in the first place.
- Establishing a relationship with your dentist and dental hygienist will go a long way for making sure you stay on top of your oral health with advice that’s tailored to you and your needs, such as your medical history or medications. Plus, your smile just feels so much better after a good cleaning.
- Good oral health is tied to overall health and wellness, like infections or damage to the mouth can affect the rest of our bodies, including everything from our hearts to our brains.
- A large part of your cleaning appointment that you may not be aware of, is that these visits include a cancer screening where the dentist and hygienist look for signs that something may be wrong. If you notice something unusual – like a red or white patch or a lump inside your mouth, on your lip or tongue that lasts more than two weeks – see your dentist for a check-up.
Resolve to replace missing teeth.
Missing teeth can be a sensitive issue, but with more and more options for tooth replacement, you owe it to yourself to find out what kind of replacement would be best for you and your needs. Depending on how many teeth you’re missing, options include everything from dental implants to bridges, dentures, partials and more. Teeth help us to chew, eat and speak, but replacing them also gives us a boost of confidence, allowing you to smile proudly.
- Don’t know where to start with your missing teeth? Schedule a free consultation with one of our dentists to discuss your treatment options.
- Sometimes space where a tooth used to be need to be filled with a bone graft before the tooth can be replaced. You can learn more about bone grafts and see other frequently asked questions here.
- When it comes to replacing teeth, the sooner the better. If you know a tooth needs to be extracted, talk to your dentist about replacement options before you commit to pulling that tooth so you have a plan in place.
Don’t let dental phobias get in the way of your oral health needs.
While some of us look forward to dental visits, 15% of Americans admit to being downright terrified of trips to the dentist. But if your response to dental phobias is to stop going to the dentist altogether, you may be doing more harm than good. Most people with dental phobias may dread the anticipation of pain, negative past experiences, embarrassment, vulnerability, and even the sights, sounds and smells of a dental office.
- The first and best step to approaching a dental visit is to communicate with us. Let us know in the first phone call that you have fear or anxiety surrounding your visit – we’ll notate that in your chart so that our team can be mindful of helping you through every step of the way. Even if you’re a champ for cleanings, but an upcoming root canal has you anxious, let us know so we can help ease your fears.
- Take advantage of our comfort menu – each of our offices is equipped with comfort menus to give you options like warm blankets, neck pillows, bottled water and more, including Nitrous Oxide, aka laughing gas or N20. Nitrous is available at all of our offices and sometimes your insurance may even help pick up the tab. It helps to take the edge off your anxiety and because you’ll get plenty of oxygen before you leave, you won’t need a driver.
- While we’ll do everything in our power to help you feel safe and comfortable during your visit, you may still find your blood racing. In the case of high blood pressure, it’s sometimes best to visit with your primary care physician to address this before continuing with dental work. Before treatment, our team will take your blood pressure and if it’s too high and can’t come down, it’s best to reschedule the appointment until after your blood pressure is under control.
We hope that these tips and tricks will help you carry out these oral health resolutions throughout the new year, and we look forward to continuing to provide you and your family with quality, compassionate dentistry and orthodontics in 2020.
And now that the New Year has begun, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of your renewed dental insurance benefits. Schedule your appointment today and see how far your smile can take you this year.