Everyone knows the sad truth about New Year’s resolutions. When we resolve to lose weight or get our finances in order, we manage to remain committed and focused for a few weeks at best before other obligations and priorities reassert themselves. This is why we find ourselves making the same resolutions year after year.

This year, however, resolve to do something different. Don’t just make the decision to improve your oral health, but resolve to stick with it, month after month, until the end of the year. Your oral health is linked to your overall health, and improving one could lead to improvements in the other. Here are a few oral health resolutions to set you on the right path.

1. QUIT A BAD HABIT

Are you hooked on tobacco products? Do you have an incurable sweet tooth? Do you bite your nails down to nubbins or compulsively chew gum, ice, hard candy, or pen caps? The common thread in all of these bad habits is that they’re terrible for your teeth.

Tobacco products can stain your teeth, dry out your mouth (increasing risks for tooth decay and gum disease), and of course, lead to oral cancer. Sugary beverages and snacks linger on teeth and create ideal breeding conditions for bacteria, leading to plaque, tartar, and eventually tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing on non-food or hard items can cause cracks and chips in teeth that open the door to infection.

If you suffer from any or all of these bad habits, now is a great time to give them up as a way to improve your oral and your overall health in the coming year.

2. ADD MO’ H20

Are you getting your recommended eight glasses of water a day? If not, it’s time to get in the habit. Proper hydration helps to ensure that your mouth produces the saliva needed to flush away leftover food and bacteria that could harm oral health. If you drink water after meals or snacks, it does double duty to keep your mouth clean.

3. REVISIT YOUR HYGIENE ROUTINE

Even though you probably know you should brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash after every meal, you may have fallen off the wagon. This year, commit to sticking with your routine until it becomes second nature.

4. GO PRO

When was the last time you saw your dentist? If it was in the last year, you’re ahead of about a third of adults who fail to see their dentist annually. Regular visits for checkup, cleaning, and x-rays are an essential part of maintaining good oral health, so schedule your visit today.

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