Question: “The new year is approaching, and I plan to finally take better care of my teeth. What are your specific recommendations?”
Answer: That’s certainly an excellent (and timely) question. It seems as if everyone makes some sort of new year’s resolution, and it’s a terrific idea to think of improving your oral health in 2009. What you need to do specifically depends entirely upon the current status of your oral health. I will, however, speak generally of a good game plan for the year.
If it has been a while since your last “check-up and cleaning,” beginning the year with a comprehensive exam would be a great idea. Completing the appropriate professional teeth cleaning can then help you to establish a healthy foundation.
Undergoing any recommended dental treatment is the next step to ensuring a healthy mouth for the new year and beyond. The longer you postpone necessary treatment, the more likely it is to develop into a more serious problem that can cause pain and the need for further treatment.
You can maintain the results by practicing good oral hygiene. Caring for your teeth and gums should be easy. Brushing twice and flossing once a day is the most important element of a good home care regimen. Changing your toothbrush regularly is important, and many people are more effective with an electric toothbrush.
Decrease your intake of sugary, acidic beverages. Remember that even diet pop can cause a lot of damage to teeth. A reduction in other sugary treats is also a necessity for many people, especially after the holidays.
If you are a smoker, breaking this harmful habit is essential to attain and maintain good oral health. If you grind your teeth, this can be very destructive, and a bite guard might be beneficial.
A continuing good relationship with your team of dental professionals is critical so that they can provide the support that you need in the years ahead. If you are already practicing all of these healthy habits, encourage your friends and family to do the same. This new year’s resolution is well worth the effort.
Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Valparaiso and Chesterton. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics and is involved with many other local, state, national, and international dental organizations. Questions for Dr. Arnold can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to 1830 South 11th St., Chesterton, IN, 46304. More information on this and a variety of other dental topics can be found at www.SmilesByArnold.com.