As we kick off 2021, many of us pick resolutions about saving money, losing weight, or perhaps, going to the gym more often. We believe your oral hygiene should be at the top of that list as well, because your oral health is related to your overall health. Here are five resolutions for you to follow all year long to keep your mouth as healthy and happy as possible. 

#1 Improving your brushing and flossing habits

Brushing twice a day and flossing before you go to bed at night is a great way to improve your oral hygiene. “Make sure you use an appropriate sized toothbrush with soft-bristles, or better yet, an electric toothrbush,” said Dr. Tony Thomas of Advanced Smile Care of North San Antonio.

Brush your teeth to position the bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline to more effectively remove bacterial plaque. Meantime, make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Otherwise, you run the risk of using a toothbrush filled with nasty bacteria. When you floss make sure you do not rush the process and carefully floss both sides of every tooth. 

#2 Preserve your teeth

2020 was a tough year for most of us, and also very stressful. That stress often leads to tooth grinding and can contribute to poor oral hygiene. Grinding can also be a result of sleep disorders, abnormal bite, or teeth that are missing or out of alignment. “If you aren’t sure if you are grinding your teeth at night, pay attention to whether you have dull headaches or jaw soreness, and possibly even cracked teeth,” said Dr. Thomas.

“Those signs can be strong indicators that you may be grinding your teeth at night.” If you are noticing any of those symptoms, we recommend that you make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist may recommend that you wear a night guard to mitigate the grinding and the ramifications caused by the grinding.   

#3 Try sugarless gum

Most of us love sugary treats, but we know sugar is not good for our teeth. According to Mouth Healthy, clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can actually help prevent tooth decay. Dr. Thomas added, “Chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva production, which helps to wash away food particles from your teeth. The gum also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria which naturally lives in your mouth.”

#4 Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

We all know eating well is good for our bodies and overall health, but it is also important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect your entire immune system, increasing the susceptibility to many common oral disorders including gum disease.

By ingesting other nutrients and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, that diet can actually improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, which helps to protect those pearly whites. 

#5 See your dentist for regular checkups

Over the past year, many of you may have skipped going to a dentist out of fear of catching the coronavirus. However, dentists have gone the extra mile to make sure their offices have incorporated cutting-edge infection control methods. “We are permitting fewer patients in our office. There is no one permitted in our waiting room any longer. In our treament rooms, we have state-of-the-art equipments and PPE designed to protect our patients and our employees,” said Dr. Thomas. Y

ou should be seeing your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and once a year for an exam. The longer you let problems in your mouth go without treatment, the more you may end up paying, not just out of your wallet but pay with your health. 

Follow these oral hygiene tips throughout 2021 and your teeth will thank you for years to come. And your dentist will be happy to see you for your regular checkups, and hopefully, fewer dental emergencies.