Good oral hygiene
Are you determined to get healthier this year? Then put your money where your mouth is. Good oral hygiene is an easy (and surprisingly important) way to improve your overall well-being.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to providing tools to help people of all ages to care for their teeth and other aspects of oral care.
"Oral health means more than just an attractive smile," says AGD spokesperson Raymond Martin, DDS, MAGD. "Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life. And, in many cases, the condition of the mouth mirrors the condition of the body as a whole."
Atlanta dentist Dr Peter V Vanstrom agrees and says that gums and teeth can predict serious health problems.
"In many cases it is a dentist who is the first to identify early warning signs of serious health issues due to what they find during routine exams," says Vanstrom. Dentists not only can identify serious conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke, but can help prevent them as well.
The AGD has compiled these easy-to-keep oral health tips that you can work into your everyday routine:
Brush twice a day
Brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes twice daily.
Floss once a day
Floss for two or three minutes at least once every day. It's the single most important factor in preventing gum disease, which affects more than 50 percent of adults.
Get a new toothbrush
Change your toothbrush (or toothbrush head if using an electric toothbrush) before the bristles become frayed and splayed, or every three to four months.
Stop drinking soda
Avoid carbonated beverages which cause enamel erosion and cavities.
Use a straw
Cut back on sugary drinks to minimize the risk of developing cavities.
Chew sugarless gum
Chewing sugarless gum after meals and snacks helps cleanse your mouth. The gum prevents bacteria from attaching to your teeth to form cavities, and it increases your saliva production to reduce bad breath.