Welcome to 2016. By now, we’ve all had a few weeks to get settled into the new year, quit dating everything “2015”, and hopefully throw ourselves headlong into one New Year’s resolution after another.
Call us professionally biased, but we could imagine few 12-month personal betterment campaigns so worthwhile as taking more diligent care every day of the only 32 permanent teeth nature gives us. A year of better personal care can mitigate and undo even milder long-term damage and potentially reduce the restorative work we as dentists have to eventually apply.
We carry the progress we establish in 2016 over into solid ground to eventually gain a running start into 2017. As dentists and patients together, let’s commit ourselves today to these better habits that will carry over for years to come into Toronto’s brightest, healthiest smiles yet.
Say it with us, now, Toronto: “I will…”
There is no age, from infant to elderly and every decade in between, when this food group shouldn’t be a staple of any well-rounded diet. Legumes, fruits, nuts and vegetables lower the likelihood of various oral disorders by maintaining an entirely healthy overall immune system with antioxidants and more essential nutrients that battle bacteria and inflammation. Just as importantly, crisp fruits and vegetables in the raw such as carrots, apples and celery naturally scrub away plaque and freshen breath while being gradually chewed.
Scratch that. Let’s go with, “I will give up tobacco, period.” It’s a common practice for smokers to wean themselves down by swapping other forms of tobacco for cigarettes, but smokeless tobacco has been linked just as strongly to gum disease, gum recession, discolored teeth, cavities, and various cancers. Smokers unfortunately are doubly as likely as nonsmokers of similar ages to lose teeth prematurely, but that risk plummets within a year of quitting any tobacco use.
We’re just going to be honest: if you can give up alcohol entirely, all the better. The Academy of General Dentistry has cited excessive alcohol consumption alongside smoking and poor overall diet as the leading factors that accelerate gum recession. If you smoke and drink frequently together, you rank among a group statistically shown to be least likely to brush regularly or exhibit healthy concern for quality oral hygiene, compared with teetotalers and nonsmokers.
No exceptions. Every day. Basic plaque is an invisible, colorless and sticky bacterial film that causes more oral health complications through its steady daily buildup than any other factor. Nothing prevents the worsening gingivitis it causes, which can eventually progress from swollen and bleeding gums to full-fledged gum disease without being promptly addressed, quite as effectively as brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least once. The Academy of General Dentistry has acknowledged only flossing as an effective removal process to scrape plaque from between teeth and beneath the gumline.
If nothing else, keep in mind that oral diseases can quickly create infections that spread throughout the rest of the body and hinder adequate nutrition.
Come on, Toronto. Next to brushing and flossing, attentive oral care doesn’t get much more basic than this. The vast majority of oral health issues are exponentially more easily and successfully treated when detected early. Trust us, your trusted dental office of choice will be delighted to see you every six months, whether anything is out of order with your checkup or not.2WSZ