The year of your healthiest smile yet

As the new year approaches, you may be setting resolutions aimed at improving your health, finances, or personal growth. But there’s one area that often gets overlooked: your oral health. Let’s dive into why you should prioritize your oral health in the new year and how to do it.

Did you know that poor oral health can influence your overall health? A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body — issues like gum disease don’t stop at your gums. Numerous studies have reported associations between gum disease and other health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. So when you map out your resolutions, put oral health at the top of your list.

Your oral health resolution checklist

Here are some essential oral health resolutions to make this year.

1. Schedule regular checkups and cleanings

Pencil in regular dental appointments for you and your family this year. These appointments aren’t just a chance to catch up with your dentist, they’re essential in catching and preventing cavities, gum disease, and more.

Regular checkups, cleanings, and other preventive care are usually covered in full by most dental plans.

2. Improve your brushing technique

Commit to brushing with fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes, twice a day. Give equal attention to each tooth, covering the entire surface area. Remember to brush in a circular motion and keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.

A new toothbrush will remove more plaque than one that is worn. So don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if you notice frayed bristles.

3. Floss like a boss

If you’re not flossing daily, now’s the time to start. Daily flossing can reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease. Perfect your practice: Slide the floss gently between each tooth and wrapping the floss in a C-shape, move the floss up and down, wrapping it around every tooth’s base.

4. Drink more water

Water does wonders for your oral health. It’s nature’s way of flushing out food particles and bacteria. Plus, most tap water contains fluoride, which helps keep your teeth strong.

5. Watch out for carbs and sugary snacks

Enhancing your oral health means paying attention to what you eat. Sugar, for instance, reacts with mouth bacteria, which leads to plaque and tooth decay. Simple carbs are also a concern, as they break down into sugar and lead to tooth decay, too. Keep an eye out for snacks that might appear wholesome but aren’t exactly tooth-friendly, such as fruit snacks, pretzels, and crackers. Whenever you can, choose fresh fruit over fruit snacks or whole-grain rice cakes over crackers.

The World Health Organization recommends limiting sugar to less than 10% of your daily calorie intake.2

6. Quit using tobacco

Tobacco use has detrimental effects on your oral health. Smoking, vaping, and chewing tobacco can lead to gum disease, oral cancer, and stained teeth. Quitting smoking is a big decision, but it’s one with many health benefits. Now’s the time — take a step toward quitting today.

As you embrace the new year with these resolutions, you’re not only prioritizing your oral health but also your overall well-being. Make it the year of your best smile yet!

1Guideline: sugars intake for adults and children. (2015, March 4) from

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