11 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Mouth in 2018

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If you’re a fan of making New Year’s resolutions – and sticking to them – then we have 11 helpful tips for keeping your smile bright and your mouth happy in 2018. Even if you aren’t a fan of New Year’s resolutions, our list is still a great place to start on the road to good oral health this year.

Modifying your diet can whiten your teeth

If you’re a fan of black tea or red wine - or a smoker - your teeth are going to suffer. Dark foods and beverages stain your teeth which equals a dingy smile. Gravies, dark juice and colas are also hard on your smile. To counter these dark foods, brush right after you eat or drink them. Eating an apple is also a great on-the-go solution to clean your teeth.

Toss your toothbrush regularly

Get yourself in the habit of getting rid of your toothbrush every three months. That includes the head of your electric toothbrush. Bacteria settle into the bristles of your brush over time, and after a couple of months, you are just transferring a bunch of bacteria to your mouth every time you brush. Plus, worn bristles don’t clean your teeth as well. In fact, plan for the year by getting out your 2018 calendar now and note every 90 days to change your toothbrush.

Eat foods that “scrub”

Raw carrots, celery and popcorn – along with apples – are great foods that naturally scrub your teeth. Eat them at the end of a meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating. They are great for when you can’t get to your toothbrush and they have the added value of being high in vitamins and fiber.

Use a natural mouthwash like apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural multi-purpose mouthwash. Gargle with it in the morning before your brush. It will help remove stains on your teeth, whiten them, and zap bacteria in your mouth.

Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

Baking soda will naturally remove stains and make your teeth whiter. Use it the same way you would your toothpaste.

Be a boss of your floss

Less than half of Americans say they floss daily – which is a definite oral health mistake for those who don’t floss regularly. It just takes two minutes once a day. To make it easier to get in a daily floss, stash packages in your purse or backpack, in your desk, and next to your bed. That will make it much more difficult to find excuses not to floss.

Switch your gum

If you like gum, then be sure to use sugar-free gum. For an even better result, purchase gum with xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that has been proven to reduce plaque. Plus, gum produces saliva, which washes away food particles in your mouth and acid from your teeth.

Brush at optimal times to enhance the results

Brush when you first get up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. Why? Because saliva – which is a natural plaque fighter – dries up when you sleep, so you should be sure to avoid getting into bed with a mouth full of plaque. When you get up in the morning and brush, your toothbrush will remove any plaque that built up during the night. Plus it will get rid of bacteria, which causes bad breath!

Twice a day keeps the dentist away

Spend two minutes twice a day brushing your teeth and you are almost guaranteed to reduce the bad news (cavities) when you visit your dentist the next time.

Moderate your sugar intake

Bacteria in your mouth love sugar. When sugars aren't cleaned off your teeth, bacteria feed on them and produce acids. The acids then combine with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque, a sticky film that covers the teeth. Once plaque forms, the acids wear away the enamel, which is the tooth's hard outer surface. These tiny openings in the enamel represent the first stage of cavities. So cut down on your sugar intake. Swap water for soda, or sugar-free gum for your regular gum.

See your dentist regularly

Twice a year is how often you should be seeing your dentist. Book a dental hygiene appointment every six months for a professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. Plus, your dentist will take a thorough look in your mouth and spot any potential issues before they become full-blown emergencies.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, WebMD, Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

 

 

7 Resolutions to Help You Improve Your Smile in 2017

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Happy New Year! The holidays have come-to-a-close, yet winter remains for another 2-3 months. It’s the perfect time for reflection at another year gone by and making resolutions for the one to come. Self-improvement is a great way to make these cold winter nights a little bit brighter after all. Maybe you’re finally ready to quit that bad habit or you’re planning that trip you’ve always wanted to take. There are a ton of 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 your dentist. A hygiene appointment and x-rays are affordable and serve as an excellent starting point. You can talk to your hygienist about a customized treatment plan at home to make 2017 the year of improving your dental health.

1.      Brush More Often

Brushing your teeth is crucial to good dental care. Professionals recommend that you brush your teeth . at least twice a day. When making your resolution, brushing more might seem daunting, but there are a couple things you can do to keep your schedule. And don’t forget to keep your family brushing regularly too, especially from an early age.

You may also consider a travel toothbrush for your office or work to keep your brushing routine regular. The trick to making a regular brushing schedule stick is set reminders for yourself the first few weeks on your phone or watch. Hopefully after a few weeks of practice, brushing two to three times a day will feel like second nature.

2.      Floss Every Day

No matter your age, flossing once each-and-every day is the BEST way to insure a healthy smile. Dental floss is stronger and easier to use than ever, and there are flossing aides like flossing picks and Waterpik available as alternatives if you find it difficult to start. If you haven’t flossed in a while, you might find it cumbersome or even painful to the point of it causing your gums to bleed. This is normal, for a time, however if bleeding continues more than a week or two you probably have gingivitis and should consult with your dentist.

3.      Eat (& Drink) Better

The most popular resolution each year is diet. We all want to look better, improve our physical appearance and become healthier. Your oral health effects the rest of your body and your appearance, and yet it is often forgotten when it comes to eating habits. Sure, we know sugar is bad and vegetables are good, but are you making sure you brush every time you drink a sugary drink or stain your teeth with coffee or red wine?

Avoiding certain food and drink in your diet isn’t the only thing you can do. Eating those vegetables, nuts, fruits and other foods with antioxidants helps to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria that can lead to gum disease. They also help with nutrition in most diets, as to not get in the way of shedding those extra pounds. Think of it as one more reason to get healthy this year!

4.      Curb Bad Habits

Nervous habits and addictions are bad for your teeth. Smoking for instance will stain your teeth, damage your gums and can cause oral cancer, and that’s just for starters. Coffee addicts will notice considerable staining to their teeth over time and if you chew your nails or lips you might find yourself with sores, increased risk of infection and damage to enamel.

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.

5.      Get Your Oral Cancer Screening

Our dentists recommend an annual check-up for oral cancer. Every year thousands of people die from oral cancer and most of those cases are treatable if found early. When you visit, our dental care team will check for bumps and inflammation that may be an early sign of cancer. Oral cancer is on the rise due to HPV or the human papillomavirus. Screening only needs to be conducted annually but at the very least be sure to ask for a screening every few visits to the dentist.

6.      Set a 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 six months, regardless of age.

Seeing a dentist regularly for smaller, routine care has proven to be more cost effective than waiting for restorative care. It’s especially worth considering a set schedule with your dentist if you have insurance benefits of some kind or if you are nervous about fillings or root canals. With a regular cleaning schedule at home that involves flossing, brushing and a healthy diet, visiting your dentist AT LEAST twice a year is the final and crucial piece to a perfect smile.

7.      Smile More

It might seem simple, but we don’t smile enough. Maybe you don’t smile because you’re shy or because you are self-conscious about your teeth. Maybe, like most of us, you don’t really remember to do it until it’s too late. Studies have shown how positive a smile can be on you and those around you. Smiling can improve productivity, energy and atmosphere at work. It can make shopping easier, and it can lead to social interaction you had closed yourself off to. If everyone made it their resolution to smile more, we could change that together.

 

Source: 123Dentist.com, Colgate.com

 

Make a Resolution for Better Oral Health in 2015

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9 Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goal

Whether you’re one of those people who like to make a set of New Year’s resolutions at the start of every year – or even if you aren’t – setting goals for better oral health is something that is worth doing just about any time of the year. See if you can make these 10 tips part of your regular oral health regimen and you’ll have a brighter smile and healthier teeth by the end of 2015.

1. Go on a white-teeth diet.

If you're quaffing red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigars, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits to blame for dingy teeth include colas, gravies, and dark juices. Bottom line: If it's dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods that stain teeth and use a good bleaching agent, either over-the-counter or in the dentist's office. For convenient teeth-cleaning action, eat an apple.

2. Chuck your toothbrush...

...or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months. Otherwise, you're just transferring bacteria to your mouth. The best way to brush is by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently moving it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won't scrub too hard.

3. Clean your tongue.

Use a tongue scraper (available at most drug stores) every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. Plus, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush.

4. Eat 'detergent' foods.

Foods that are firm or crisp help clean teeth as they're eaten. We already mentioned apples (otherwise known as nature's toothbrush); other choices include raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For best results, make 'detergent' foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating.

5. Gargle with apple cider vinegar.

Do this in the morning and then brush as usual. The vinegar helps help remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums.

6. Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week.

This will remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. Just be sure to spit it out so it doesn't count as sodium intake! Also, if your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.

7. Floss daily.

We can’t emphasize enough how important flossing is to good oral health. Check with your hygienist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for tips on the right way to floss.

8. Brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night.

They're the two most crucial times. That’s because saliva (which keeps cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. It’s also important to brush first thing in the morning to brush off plaque and bacteria (morning breath!) that may have built up as you slept.

9. Conceal with color.

Ladies: Choose a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in teeth.

SOURCE: WebMD and Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest