New Year, Healthy Mouth: A Guide to Dental Health Resolutions

Oral health is one of the most important, and one of the most overlooked, parts of overall wellness. As you're thinking up New Year's resolutions, commit to making a few dental health resolutions that will become healthy habits in 2018.

Better Brushing and Flossing

One of the simplest ways you can begin to improve your oral health in the new year is to refresh yourself on proper brushing and flossing techniques. Remember to brush at least twice a day with an appropriate sized, soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. When brushing, position the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and use gentle stokes to effectively remove bacterial plaque without damaging the gums.

Make it a goal to floss daily. Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles from under the gumline and between the teeth — places that a toothbrush cannot easily reach. Studies show that only around 30 percent of Americans floss daily, so this is likely a resolution many of us should commit to. For maximum effectiveness, start with around 18 inches of floss wound around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two to work with. Gently slide floss up and down between the teeth, curving around the base of each tooth. Make sure to go beneath the gumline, but be careful not to snap or force the floss as it may cut delicate gum tissue. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth. To remove the floss, use the same back and forth motion to bring floss up and away from the teeth.

Eat More Mouth-Healthy Foods

Many people resolve to eat healthier in the new year. While adjusting your diet, make mouth-healthy choices for added benefit. Cut back on sugary treats that contribute to tooth decay. Focus on foods that are good for your teeth, like calcium-rich dairy products. High fiber foods are also a good choice as they increase saliva production and scrub away plaque and other food bits. Lean proteins like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs contain phosphorus that helps strengthen the teeth.

Routine Dental Visits

According to the American Dental Association, nearly one third of people in the U.S. don't visit the dentist regularly. Even if your teeth look and feel fine, a visit to the dentist may help prevent future ailments, or catch an existing disease in its early stages. Add a reminder to your calendar or phone to schedule an office visit every six months. To make the process easier, book your next appointment before you leave the dentist's office. Ask for a reminder card to keep in your wallet, or a phone call the day before your scheduled visit. New patients can make an appointment with UK Dentistry by calling 859-323-DENT (3368).

Remember, any adjustment takes time. Don't be discouraged by minor slip ups. Take things one step at a time, and you'll be on your way to a healthier smile in no time!

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