2021 is now upon us, and with it, the chance to start over with some healthy resolutions for a new, improved you. But rather than proclaiming the typical “lose weight, exercise more, and eat healthy” same-old refrain, how about starting with your oral health this year?
This may be the easiest resolution of all to stick with because it involves small, easily actionable steps to build up a good solid oral health regime over time. Plus, sprucing up your oral health comes with an added bonus: improving your oral health will ultimately improve your overall health. We now know conclusively that your overall state of health and well-being is directly impacted by the state of your mouth. So it stands to reason that by taking steps to improve your dental health, you will naturally improve your physical and mental health as well. It’s a win-win.
Here we look at the best ways to boost your oral health in 2021.
1. Treat Yourself To A New Toothbrush
When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s time for a new one. Most of us don’t pay too much attention to the age of our toothbrushes. However, think about how much pressure your toothbrush is under twice a day. If you keep using your old toothbrush with the worn-out, flattened bristles, you are actually doing more harm than good to your teeth. Those old bristles can cause receding gum lines, and they also are no longer able to get between teeth for proper cleaning. Because the bristles are lying flat against your teeth when you brush, they can’t contact surfaces and crevices like a new brush can.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush, or electric toothbrush head, every three months. Why not consider setting a reminder on your phone for every three months to get yourself a new toothbrush?
Let’s take it a step further. While you’re out picking up a replacement, consider investing in the best toothbrush you can afford. It helps to look at the purchase not as an expense, but as an investment in your oral health. The cost of a good quality toothbrush now, is miniscule compared to the potential dental bills you may face down the road if you don’t keep up with a proper brushing routine.
Consider also switching to an electric toothbrush, as they do a much better job at brushing, and can also assist in plaque removal. And to ensure you keep to your new oral health routine, many toothbrushes now come with pressure alarms and timers so you brush for the right amount of time and with the right amount of pressure.
2. Add Flossing To Your Daily Oral Health Regime
This is the step with perhaps the biggest bang for your health buck. If you don’t already floss, now is the time to start. It’s a mystery why flossing, something so simple, seems to be the hardest habit for many people to stick to. Though it may seem like flossing is a lot of work, it really is quite easy, it adds only about two minutes to your nightly oral health routine, and is a crucial step to maintaining good oral health.
You’ve already invested in the best toothbrush you can afford, which is a great first step; however, even the best bristles and the most dedicated brushing routine won’t get your teeth 100% clean. There are simply places in between your teeth that even the best toothbrush can’t reach; places where food particles and bacteria like to hide. This bacteria can quickly turn into tooth decay if not removed, and could even lead to gum disease if not brought under control. Dental floss costs just pennies per use and, when done regularly and properly, can save you huge in the long run by helping you prevent serious dental issues.
If you don’t like using string floss, consider investing in a good quality water flosser, which can be just as effective as the manual method of flossing, and will reap huge dental benefits for you over time.
3. Commit To A Healthier Diet
We all know that a healthy diet is the most effective way to achieve your overall healthier lifestyle goal. But did you know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is also excellent for your teeth? When you choose crisp, crunchy fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks, they can assist in plaque removal. Not to mention the abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are vital in preventing gum disease and other oral health problems.
However, it’s not enough to simply add more healthy food choices to your diet; you also need to reduce or eliminate foods high in sugar and acids. These foods are very damaging to teeth and can increase the risk for tooth decay and enamel erosion. If you do choose acidic or sugary foods be sure to rinse your mouth with water right away. Don’t brush immediately as this can actually force the sugar and acids further into your teeth.
And speaking of water, now would be the perfect time to commit to making water your exclusive drink of choice. Not only will you be properly hydrating your body with what it needs most, your teeth will thank you too.
4. Quit Smoking
You know how bad smoking is for your health. But you might not be aware that it is also bad for your oral health. It increases the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral and throat cancers. However, there is also an aesthetic downside to smoking, as it causes yellow, unattractive stains on your teeth which can dull your smile and be very difficult to remove. There is not one single health benefit to smoking, but a whole pile of reasons to quit. Make 2021 your year!
5. Book Regular Dental Appointments
Okay, you’ve purchased the best toothbrush you can afford, you’ve turned the dreaded act of flossing into an easy nightly habit, you’ve boosted your diet by adding the good stuff and eliminating the bad, and you’ve quit smoking (if you were a smoker, that is). There is one more crucial step to hurdle if you want to achieve your 2021 oral health resolutions: Go see your dentist!
There are two main reasons people neglect to keep up their dental visits:
- They let their hectic lifestyle get in the way of regular dental checkups.
- They don’t have dental coverage, so they think they’ll save money by not booking an appointment unless absolutely necessary.
But if you stop and think about it, both these reasons actually contribute to more cost for you in the long run (in both time and money) than if you were to keep up your regular oral health visits along the way.
First, if you neglect to book your regular dental checkups because you’re “too busy”, by the time you actually do make it into the dentist’s chair, you could have some serious dental problems brewing that need attention — that may have been caught early had you kept up with your regular appointments. So now you are looking at more time, and possibly more appointments, at the dental clinic to solve these newly-found issues than the time it would have taken you to simply go for your regular checkup.
Second, if you are avoiding going to the dentist because you don’t have dental coverage, thinking you’ll only book an appointment if there’s a problem or you start to feel some tooth pain, by that point you’ve likely already developed a cavity or tooth infection, or more seriously, an abscessed tooth or the beginning stages of gum disease.
Any number of oral health and dental woes may begin silently brewing in your mouth while you are at home “saving money” by not booking your regular checkups. Again, by the time you do notice potential problems and get in to see your dentist, you are looking at a much higher bill to fix these issues than it would have cost you to keep up with your regular visits and cleanings in the first place.
In all likelihood a regular checkup would have caught these problems early enough to rectify them easily, or prevented them from forming altogether. Our clinic has the tools and expertise needed to keep your teeth clean and healthy by removing the plaque your toothbrush and flossing can’t remove. We also examine your teeth to look for signs of decay, and can address other issues to help prevent further infection and gum disease.
But we can’t do all this if you stay away from our office. Regular preventative oral health checkups keep your teeth and gums healthy, avoid the need for more time-consuming dental treatments, and cost less than repair treatments will in the long run.
6. Winning Smile
Apart from committing to keep your teeth healthy by following all the steps listed above, if you have been dissatisfied with the appearance of your smile, setting oral health goals that include possible cosmetic treatment can help. We can discuss a cosmetic treatment plan to improve your smile whether it is whitening, straightening, or more involved treatments such as dental implants to replace missing teeth. There is always a solution to improve your smile with treatments that include:
- Dental Bonding: Bonding uses a tooth-coloured, strong resin that can repair and improve the appearance of chipped or cracked teeth; it can also be used to replace old, metal amalgam fillings with composite, tooth-coloured fillings; or it can address things such as closing gaps between teeth. Bonding can also be contoured to mold your teeth into a more appealing shape.
- Dental Bridges: Dental bridges can replace missing teeth, and can either be cemented or bonded in place, or “fixed” using implants.
- Crowns: Crowns can be used to address a number of cosmetic concerns, by “capping” your existing discoloured or mishappen teeth. We offer same-day crowns with CEREC technology – thus, no more need for multiple appointments stretched over weeks.
- Dental Veneers: Dental veneers are thin “shells” bonded to the front of your teeth to correct imperfections such as uneven surfaces, chips, cracks, stains and more.
Come see us — we can discuss the cosmetic treatments that are right for you to help you achieve your perfect smile.