Healthy Smile Tips for 2018

Happy New Year from all of us at Pristine Orthodontics. Every year brings new resolutions and this year Pristine Orthodontics wants to encourage you to make 2018 the year of improving your dental health. Oral wellness resolutions can quickly become a part of your regular wellness routine, and before you know it, you’ll be a healthier person on your way to a much happier 2018!

There are many ways you can improve your smile if you stop to think about it. The trick to making your teeth healthy is not necessarily expensive dental work, unless of course you already have a dental problem that needs addressing. The very first step is a consultation with  Dr. Jeffrey Lee at Pristine Orthodontics in Palo Alto, CA. An consultation appointment and x-rays are affordable and serve as an excellent starting point.

Sticking to the Schedule

What is the single most important step in making dental health as a resolution stick? Sticking to the schedule of course. Not only do you need to set a personal, daily schedule for yourself and your family, but you’ll also need to set a schedule with your dentist. Every patient has different dental needs, but the average, healthy person should see the dentist for cleaning and an exam every 6 months, regardless of age.

Quit Using Tobacco Products

Breaking a habit is always an uphill battle, but there’s no better time than the start of the new year. If you needed one more reason to drop the cigarettes, cut back on caffeine or find other ways to keep your hands busy and out of your mouth, your dental health is it. Cigarettes in particular will be the biggest challenge, and you can speak to your dentist for suggestions on breaking the chemical dependency over time. Dental friendly chewing gum is a great place to start in most cases. Quitting cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use is important for improving your oral and overall health. There is no better time than the present to make a resolution to stop tobacco use. Consider free online tools, smoking cessation groups, progress-tracking apps and support from friends and family to assist you with tobacco cessation.

Routine Dental Visits

A resolution to make routine visits to the dentist may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every 6 months to allow your dentist and dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs. 

Make Healthier Food and Beverage Choices in 2018

An important part of achieving your dental health resolutions is making healthier food and beverage choices, especially for snacks. Frequent consumption of food and beverages containing carbohydrates and acids contributes to tooth decay, so it is important to brush after snacking. Using a Xylitol-containing gum or lozenge after a meal will also help to neutralize acids and reduce cavity-causing bacteria and plaque buildup. All sugary treats promote tooth decay, but cut back on the worst offenders. Gummies stick in the teeth, keeping sugar and resulting acids in contact with your enamel for hours. If your day just isn’t the same without a gummy critter fix, pop a couple during a meal instead of as a separate snack. More saliva is produced during meals, which helps rinse away candy bits and acids.

Candy isn’t the only sugar culprit; sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving, with phosphoric and citric acids which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet soft drinks skip the sugar, but they may have even more acid in the form of the artificial sweeteners. Those refreshing sports drinks are also high in sugar. Like soda or candy, sugary sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Yes, fruit juice is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but some juices can have as much sugar per serving as soda. A better way to stay hydrated is to chug sugar-free, calorie-free water. It also helps to rinse your teeth and mouth between brushings.

Cough drops are sold in the medicine aisle but it doesn’t make them health food. Most are loaded with sugar so be sure to rinse and brush well. Bacteria in the plaque on your teeth may convert the sugar into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel.

When is water not good? You might think ice is harmless, but munching on hard, frozen cubes can chip or even crack your teeth. If your unconscious chomping irritates the soft tissue inside a tooth, regular toothaches may follow. Hot foods and cold foods may trigger quick, sharp jabs of pain or a lingering toothache.

6 Quick MouthHealthy Reminders Resolutions from MouthHealthy.org:

  • Start brushing 2min2x. Always brush twice a day for two minutes for healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and to avoid painful dental problems. 
  • Floss daily. Flossing is part of being mouth healthy.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Drink fluoridated water. Fluoride helps prevent cavities by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities.
  • See your dentist. Regular dental visits will help you be Mouth Healthy for Life. 

For this new year, resolve to treat your mouth right: improve your diet, quit smoking and improve your oral hygiene habits – your teeth and your body will thank you for it!

Brush After Every Meal — At Least Twice a Day, and Floss at Least Once a Day

Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from decay and gum disease, which is caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque – a sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health: according to the Academy of General Dentistry, only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline, where decay and gum disease often begins.

Floss Floss Floss
And buy a new toothbrush! The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three months, so if you haven’t done so in a while, the new year is the perfect time to get yourself back on schedule! It’s important to remember that although you may have slacked off during the holidays, brushing three times and flossing at least once per day are both crucial in maintaining oral health.

Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums, which may worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums (gingivitis) and, eventually, gum disease. Because diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of your body, it is especially important to maintain good oral health.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables Regularly

Eating well is important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including gum (periodontal) disease. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

Good Oral Health Key to Overall Fitness

Focusing on your oral health seamlessly leads to better overall and physical fitness. Once you become focused on attaining your oral health goals, like flossing every day and brushing for two minutes two times a day, your mind will already be more in-tune to achieving larger goals, like going on runs or maintaining a healthy diet! Making healthier choices for your oral health, like drinking water instead of sugary juices, are healthier choices for your body’s overall well-being, and will only make you feel encouraged to pursue further goals.

Changing small habits can impact your teeth is a big way. Talk to Dr. Jeffrey Lee at Pristine Orthodontics in Palo Alto about the best way to preserve a healthy smile for years to come. Happy New Year! If you’re interested in attaining your new smile for the new year, we encourage you to come visit us sometime!  We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Looking for a Orthodontist in Palo Alto or in the greater S.F. Bay area. Dr. Jeffrey Lee and the team at Pristine Orthodontics provide affordable traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® clear aligners. Use this form to get in touch with us for any questions, requests, or comments you may have.