2023 Resolutions

It's that time of year again—time to make your New Year's Resolutions! You may already have in mind some resolutions you'd like to make. Perhaps you want to exercise more or get more organized. Maybe you want to read more books or learn a new hobby.

Here at Pacific Northwest Prosthodontics, we hope you'll consider adding one more resolution to the list you already have: Take better care of your teeth. You can thank us later if you're successful. Keep reading for some tips for making 2023 the best year yet for your teeth.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Have you heard that phrase before? Simply put, it means that if you can prevent a problem from happening in the first place, you can save yourself the pain and expense of fixing that problem.

There are so many problems you can have with your teeth and mouth. To name just a few:

  • Tooth decay
  • Stained teeth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Gingivitis/gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • Mouth sores

Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent all of these conditions. Let's take a look at what you can do every day to save yourself an extra trip to the dentist.

Brush and Floss

Every time you eat or drink, particles of what you've consumed will remain on and between your teeth. Over time, this can cause tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease. You can prevent these by following a strict brushing and flossing regimen.

First, choose the right toothbrush. You should pick a toothbrush with a head that fits comfortably in your mouth. Soft bristles are more flexible and can reach a wider area than hard bristles. Look for a toothbrush recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). When you brush, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to be sure you're hitting your teeth and your gums. Using a circular motion, brush each tooth. Don't forget the insides of your teeth and the top of your tongue. Brush for two minutes at least two times a day.

If you're not sure you're giving an equal amount of attention to each tooth, start in a different place each time you brush. This can break you of any routines that cause you to lose focus mid-brushing. You should be flossing your teeth each time you brush. You can floss before or after, but if you floss after, you'll catch food items your toothbrush missed. Be sure to choose a quality floss (look for that ADA stamp of approval). You should never reuse floss—you could reintroduce bacteria to your teeth and gums.

Proper flossing technique:

  1. Gently slide the floss between your teeth.
  2. Wrap the floss in a "c" shape around the tooth.
  3. Slide the floss up and down your tooth several times.
  4. Move to the next tooth.

After you floss, consider mouthwash. Mouthwash freshens your breath and has a number of other benefits, including acting as an added layer of protection from cavities. Mouthwash removes any food debris left after brushing and flossing and reduces both sensitivity and dry mouth. Follow these brushing and flossing tips, and you'll be well on your way to preventing many of the more common dental issues.

Eat Healthy

There are many benefits to eating in a healthy way. Eating healthy food can boost your energy, support your muscles, and strengthen your bones, just to name a few of those benefits. Eating healthy can also prevent issues with your teeth. As you likely know, sugar is especially hard on teeth. Excess sugar can cause cavities which, left untreated, can be a huge problem. Sugar left behind after a sweet dessert or a can of soda can mix with the saliva and bacteria in your mouth. Together, this combination leads to plaque, which eats at the enamel of teeth, leaving the teeth vulnerable to cavities. Limiting the amount of sugar in your diet can prevent this from happening.

While sugar can be bad for your teeth, there are many foods which are a boon to your teeth. Dairy foods such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are high in calcium and casein, which aid in strengthening the enamel on your teeth and improving overall bone density. Leafy greens also contain calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals that promote good teeth health. In addition to that, chewing on leafy greens helps to clean your teeth.

Red meat and fatty fish offer plenty of nutrients which will benefit your teeth. Furthermore, chewing meat increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, decreasing the amount of acidity and washing away food particles. Don't forget water! Water (particularly with fluoride) keeps your saliva levels high, and the fluoride helps prevent cavities. Experts recommend two to four liters a day depending on your gender and the makeup of your diet.

Visit Your Dentist

There's a lot you can do at home to make sure your teeth stay healthy, but you shouldn't forget regular trips to your dentist. It's recommended that your visit your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and an exam. Routine exams often involve x-rays and a full inventory of your teeth, gums, and jaw. These will help your dentist identify any problem areas. Those problem areas can be addressed directly, hopefully heading off larger issues down the road.

You can also discuss steps you can take to improve your smile, from teeth whitening to teeth straightening. Here at Pacific Northwest Prosthodontics, our specialty is assessing the aesthetics of your teeth and providing solutions to make you more confident in your day-to-day life. (We can also treat dental conditions such as joint problems due to TMJ or injuries to the mouth or teeth, to name just a few of our services.)

Your New Year's Appointment

Get a head start on your resolution to take better care of your teeth. We're here to help you meet your goal! Our staff is ready to sit down and discuss your needs and provide care that will meet them. Contact our office for an appointment today. See you in 2023!