New Year. New You. 5 Things you can do right now to ensure 2017 is a great year for your teeth.

  1. Quit Smoking and Chewing Tobacco: If this isn’t at the top of your resolution list, it should be. In addition to the increased risk of oral cancer, smoking and chewing tobacco can negatively impact your teeth and gums. Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, preventing infected gums from healing and causing gum disease to get worse. Using tobacco products also results in an increased buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth and increased loss of bone. Not to mention the yellowing and staining of the teeth. If there is one resolution you can make in 2017, this is the one to do.
  2. Drink (More) Water: We all know we should drink more water and often set a resolution to drink the recommended 8 or more glasses of water a day. This can be difficult to reach and sustain, however, if you aren’t used to drinking that much water. Start by increasing your daily intake by 1 glass each day. Then keep increasing it by a glass as your body gets used to drinking more water. The benefits of water are amazing for your entire body (think hair, skin, nails), but especially for your teeth. Drinking a glass of water instead of a soda or juice prevents sugar and acid from sticking to your teeth, decreasing the buildup of plaque and tartar and reducing the effects of erosion on your enamel. If you still need to drink a soda or juice, then follow-up with a glass of water to help wash away the harmful residue. If drinking plain water is too boring for you, try adding some fresh fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries), herbs (mint) or vegetables (cucumbers) to make it more refreshing. Additionally, flavored sparkling water can be a great alternative for those that crave carbonation.
  3. Floss. Every. Day: It really doesn’t matter to us whether you floss in the morning, at lunch or at bedtime. Basically, we just want you to floss each day so you can remove and break up particles of food that become trapped between your teeth. Otherwise that food can ultimately cause decay, leading to cavities or worse. We do recommend setting a routine so that it is done about the same time every day and easier to make a habit. And you know how you suddenly floss 3 or 4 times a day right before a dental appointment to catch up? Well, we can tell if you haven’t been doing it regularly. Basically—there is no such thing as cramming for a dental appointment.
  4. Don’t Chew Ice: A lot of people enjoy chewing ice however it can actually be harmful to your teeth. Ice is hard and can cause cracked or chipped teeth, in addition to causing problems with older dental work. So keep the ice in your glass.
  5. Don’t Sip Soda: You know how we feel about soda (regular and diet) and the negative effects it can have on your teeth. For those of you who refuse to give up your daily soda, we recommend you drink it in one setting, preferably with a meal. The impact of soda on your teeth is actually the most harmful when it is sipped all day long. In fact, every time you take a sip of soda, you are bathing your teeth for 20 minutes with acid and sugar.So if you have to have it, drink it at once and follow up with a glass of water.