Although you live in a time zone that’s an hour behind New York, you still like to watch the “Big Apple” drop to start the new year. You have a little ritual that you’ve created where you mentally review all the things you’ve resolved to accomplish in the upcoming year. The list includes the usual suspects: to get in better shape, reduce debt and travel more. These are all reasonable goals, but your Dublin dentist wants you to consider a very practical aspiration: to achieve and/or maintain excellent oral health. Discovers some ways to manifest this.
Why Oral Health Matters
Oral health matters because its effects are far-reaching. It’s unique in that it not only impacts your physical function, but also your appearance and self-esteem. It has specific significance in each area:
- Function – By maintaining optimum oral health, you better ensure your ability to secure the proper function of your mouth, teeth and gums for years to come. For example, by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day, you remove harmful plaque and bacteria that can cause gum disease. Gum disease untreated can then lead to a recessive gum line, which can create an unstable root structure for your teeth. This can then lead to tooth loss. And when teeth are missing, you lose functionality.
- Appearance – Tooth loss resulting from poor oral health has a negative effect on your appearance. It also inhibits your willingness to smile, because you don’t want to reveal the fact that you have missing teeth. Furthermore, studies show that 45% of people feel that those with perfect smiles have a better chance of getting a job than those with flaws. So, your smile could be preventing you from getting the position you desire, and all of this could have been averted by practicing better oral health.
- Self-Esteem – The old adage still remains true, “If you look better, you’ll feel better.” This is another reason why oral health is important. If you take proper care of your teeth, they’ll last longer and look wonderful. And this has a major impact on the successes that you can achieve in life, which many times hinge on your self-esteem. Possessing this intangible quality is like having access to an internal power plant that drives you to be the best possible version of yourself.
How to Achieve the Best Oral Health
Now that you know why your oral health is so important, learn how to achieve it:
- Brushing and Flossing – Together, these two practices form the bedrock of your oral health. Brushing agitates and removes food particles and bacteria from your teeth. Flossing allows you to get into the places that you can’t reach with your toothbrush, removing the remaining harmful agents of chaos that can cause gum disease and other maladies.
- Avoiding Sugary Foods – If there were a list for the top foods for bacteria to feed on, the leading one would be sugar, and more specifically, the processed kind. So, if you’re choosing candy and chips (yes, they’re full of sugar too) to fulfill your cravings instead of fruits and nuts, then you’re actually hindering your oral health. So, a goal you can set for the new year is to make healthier choices.
- Learning How to Handle Stress – Stress can affect your eating negatively, but it can also cause you to grind your teeth, which damages your enamel, and once that happens you can start to experience painful sensitivity to changes in temperature. One option is to speak with your dentist about the possible ways to help reduce stress and get fitted for a mouth guard to use while you sleep.
- Visit Your Dentist – Another key to your oral health is to maintain regular visits with your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and examinations. This allows him to catch any developing issues before they become major problems and to ensure that your teeth are clean, because “an ounce of prevention is worth more then 10 pounds of cure.”
Make this your year to achieve one of the most practical goals you’ve ever set: to love your mouth, teeth and gums more. Schedule a visit with your dentist to develop the best plan of action for the year, and prepare yourself to see the wondrous effects of practicing excellent oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology from Miami University of Ohio and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. He practices at Distinctive Smiles of Dublin and can be reached for more information through his website.