The new year often inspires goals related to diet and fitness, but another important component of a healthier lifestyle is maintaining good oral health. In fact, a healthy smile is usually indicative of a healthy body as well. We’re about a month into the new year, and this is generally the time when people begin to abandon their New Year’s resolutions. However, if you are reading this, congratulations! It most likely means you’ve been sticking to your goals of improving your smile and looking to learn more. Here are some of the top ways to uphold resolutions for a healthy smile:

Stop Smoking

In addition to the variety of health problems that smoking causes, tobacco use also has detrimental effects on your teeth and gums. It worsens plaque buildup, makes your teeth yellow, and causes bad breath. Additionally, tobacco use increases the risk of gum disease and mouth cancer.

Stay Hydrated

A crucial aspect of oral health is saliva to remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth, and drinking enough water in the day helps the salivary glands working at their best. Everyone differs in how much water they need per day, but a good reference is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a 120-pound person should drink about 60 ounces of water per day.

Floss Everyday

With 40% of your teeth’s surfaces being located between your teeth, flossing every day is a great commitment to make for your health. Flossing helps clear any bacteria or food particles that cause gum disease and decay.

Brush for 2 Minutes

Do you brush for the full recommended two minutes? Studies show that the majority of Americans actually brush for less than one minute. To ensure that you are brushing long enough, consider timing yourself. As a rule of thumb, aim to brush for 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth.

Whiten Your Teeth

While yellow teeth are more of a cosmetic issue, getting a whiter smile can be the boost you need to continue the new year with confidence. Options for teeth whitening range from kits you can buy in the store to professional whitening done at your dentist’s office. Learn more about the different whitening techniques available here.

Eat Less Acidic Foods

Acidic food and drinks can be very damaging to your oral health. Among the worst are cola sodas and sports drinks, often being as acidic as pure lemon juice. For this reason, be sure to limit your consumption of these types of foods. Ideally we recommend eliminating them from your diet completely. If you are going to eat or drink something acidic, follow up with a drink of water to help rinse away the acid on your teeth.

Pay a Visit to Your Dentist

One of the best resolutions for a healthy smile to plan to see your dentist twice this year for a regular checkup and cleaning. If you have not been keeping up with visits in the past, the best time to start is now! Learn more information on booking an appointment at Dental Partners of Fifth Avenue.