Make 2014 A Smile-Worthy Year
2014 is here and many people are participating in the annual tradition of self-improvement.
Yes, we are talking about New Year’s resolutions. Whether your resolutions are big or small, one thing is certain – we can all be better about caring for our teeth!
Delta Dental of Arkansas offers the following suggestions to help your smile sparkle all year long:
• Brush/floss regularly: The uncomplicated daily one-two punch of brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day is still the foundation for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The sooner you can brush following a meal, the better. The longer food stays stuck to your teeth, the more acid is produced that erodes tooth enamel.
• Visit a dentist in 2014: Don’t delay making an appointment for a check-up. Dentists do more than just check and clean teeth. They can also check for signs of serious medical conditions and oral health problems like oral cancer and gum disease, answer questions and provide advice for adults and children.
• Avoid tobacco products: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of the cases of severe gum disease in U.S. adults can be attributed to cigarette smoking, and the prevalence of gum disease is three times higher among smokers than non-smokers. Consuming products like cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco is arguably the single most destructive oral health habit.
• Eat sweets in moderation: It was ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who advised, “Moderation in all things” and that adage rings especially true for sweet snacks. Tooth decay occurs when candy, cookies, sodas and other sweets, or simple carbohydrates like those in chips or crackers, mix with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to produce acid, which can destroy tooth enamel. Whenever possible, stick to having sweets with dinner and brush afterward. Limit sugary snacks because the more times during the day that your teeth are exposed, the longer the acids attack.
• Wear a mouth guard during contact sports: It’s not just kids who play contact sports these days. Millions of adults participate in competitive sports leagues in which there can be significant risk of contact. Although there is insufficient evidence to suggest mouth guards prevent concussions, they do absorb and distribute the forces that impact the mouth, teeth, face and jaw when an athlete takes a shot to the face. Wearing a mouth guard can prevent chipped, fractured, displaced or dislodged teeth, fractured or displaced jaws, TMJ trauma, and lacerations to the lips and mouth that result from the edges of the teeth.