New Year’s Resolutions for Healthier Teeth

Happy 2019 to all our patients from Prospect Street Dental Practice. We all know January’s a fantastic time for New Year’s Resolutions - so want to help suggest some changes you can make to help protect and care for your teeth better than you did in 2018!

1. An Improved Diet Keeps Teeth Healthy

A high sugar diet is the biggest factor in causing tooth decay, so cutting back on the amount of sugar in your diet is the best change you can make to minimise the risk of suffering from dental pain and needing treatment. This could be as simple as making a change from sugar to sweeteners in your hot drinks, making a swap from soft drinks to water or even just ditching the sweets for healthy alternatives.

2. Brush Up On Your Daily Dental Care Routine

Important as it is to see a hygienist regularly to maintain your teeth the most important element to good oral hygiene is a rigorous daily routine and there is always room for improvement. Set yourself a simple and achievable daily goal such as trying to get into the habit of cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes every weekday for the whole of January and see if you cant carry the habit forward from there. Careful cleaning is vital to maintaining healthy teeth and gums and a few minutes extra attention each day can go along way to avoiding gum disease and maintaining a healthy smile.

3. When Should I Have Regular Dental Check Ups?

If you’ve fallen out of the habit of attending your routine examinations or are slightly overdue on having a scale and polish today’s the best time time to get back into the swing of things and check that your indulgences haven't done any lasting damage. It is always best to catch any issues in the mouth early before they cause pain or develop into major issues.

4. Quite Smoking

Smoking is huge contributing factor to both oral cancer and gum disease so if you’re thinking about finally kicking the habit make the change now and your teeth will thank you for it. It is never too late to stop even if you do suffer from gum disease - with the removal of cigarettes from the equation the likelihood of gum disease resolving improves dramatically. What does this mean? Even if you have suffered harm from smoking it’s always worth giving up!

Smoking and your Teeth

If you are a smoker I’m sure you will be familiar with the images displayed on cigarette packaging showing a mouth with a nasty set of teeth, suffering the damages of smoking. But what is actually going on in these pictures and why should it be a warning that you don’t ignore?

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The first thing your eye is drawn to is the dark staining and discolouration of the teeth in the images. This is due to the tar in your cigarette smoke quickly forming on the surface of your teeth and after years of smoking causing your teeth to go brown. You can reverse this to a certain extent with whitening and stain removal from a hygienist but it will always recur with ongoing smoking.

The next thing you notice is that the gums have shrunk back from around the teeth. Smoking is a huge factor in gum disease and most smokers will suffer from at least gum recession, but this will often progress to lost teeth if not addressed. Gum disease is a process whereby the bone that holds your teeth in place shrinks back and where your bone goes the gums follow, and if there is enough loss of bone your teeth will become loose and could even fall out.  Once the bone surrounding your teeth is gone it never grows back to where it was originally, so the sooner you stop the better for your gums. The recession of gums also exposes the roots of your teeth which are much more vulnerable to tooth decay, so smoking is also an indirect cause of decay.

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The final and possibly most serious risk posed to your mouth and general health from smoking is oral cancer. Cancers of the mouth and throat are much more common in smokers especially when combined with other factors such as alcohol consumption. Even if they can be treated and cured these cancers can be highly disfiguring and make even simple things such as eating very difficult.

These are just the perils of smoking to your mouth not to mention the other long-term risks of damage to your lungs, other forms of cancer and increasing your risk of heart attacks so its Stoptober- Stop now!

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