Kick a dental bad habit this New Year

Is there one particular bad habit you want to curb in the new year for better dental hygiene? Here are our top suggestions for a healthier mouth in 2017.

New Year is such a great time! Everyone is much more positive after a relaxing holiday with family and friends, which tends to put us in a more reflective mood.

If you want to break a bad habit for a healthier you in 2017, you might find our solutions to common problems helpful…

Habit: You’re a snacking fiend

Resolution: Pop a bottle of water in your bag!

It can be surprising how simply sipping water throughout the day can help you feel fuller. But from a dental perspective, it also neutralises any acids in your mouth. So after snacking on a piece of fruit or even if you do cave in to the odd biscuit…or five…your mouth will be cleaner and less prone to cavities. Want to feel fuller for longer? Start the day with slow-release high-energy foods, such as oats, bananas and eggs!

Habit: You crave the sweet things in life

Resolution: Try sugar substitutes!

There’s nothing wrong with a cupcake here or some chocolate there. But if you want to cut down on sugar, have you tried designating treats to the weekend? If that’s too much at once, why not begin by replacing your snack drawer with a small fruit bowl, or eating sugary foods once a day and then on alternate days. You don’t have to go without in coffee shops either since most stock sugar-free syrups. Result! And if you’re an obsessive baker, sweeteners like stevia are great alternatives.

Habit: Your busy lifestyle impacts on your healthy eating

Resolution: Schedule 15 minutes once a week to plan!

When you’ve got healthy food in the house, you’re more likely to cook with it. But our good intentions often go out of the window after that busy commute across London! This simple trick of scheduling 15 minutes each Sunday night to create a family meal plan and write your shopping list could be the solution. It can help you stick to the three main mealtimes to eliminate snacking, ensure you get your 5-a-day, and it should save you time and money on your grocery shopping! And who doesn’t need more time and money?!

Habit: You quite like a tipple

Resolution: Drink on specific nights!

Don’t get us wrong, we won’t be turning down a glass of bubbly when the clock strikes midnight! But alcohol is high in sugar and fizzy drinks can cause enamel erosion. This is useful to know if you drink most nights but want to keep your smile in great shape or shed a few pounds. You could ease yourself in gently by opting for mixers that are slimline or even flat fruit juices, before progressing to only drinking on weekends. Leaving half an hour after drinking before you brush your teeth can also help protect your smile.

Habit: You’re a smoker who wants to quit

Resolution: Congratulations – you’ve taken the first step to a healthier lifestyle!

The new year is the best time to start so tell almost everyone you know – it will bolster your resolve and you might discover someone else also wants to quit, so you can support each other. There is plenty of help to go smoke-free available from the NHS and, initially, nicotine gum might help you transition to kick the habit. By quitting smoking, you won’t just be cutting your risk of mouth cancer by a third, you’ll also reduce your chances of getting gum disease and those yellow stains – so you’ll have more reasons to smile in 2017!

Habit: You tend to neglect your teeth

Resolution: Schedule a dental appointment!

This is the easiest resolution to nail and one less thing to remember in 2017! On 1st January, add a reminder to your phone calendar to book your dental check-up – usually needed every 6 months – and another in between to see the dental hygienist. Want more simple tricks for a clean mouth? Add sugar-free gum to your bag, keep a bottle on water on you and use disclosing tablets once a week to highlight any plaque you’re missing when brushing.

Refresh your goals

It’s OK to veer off course so long as you don’t give up. Most habits take a while to change, so start small and on the 1st of every month take it up a notch. This will help you feel less overwhelmed, keep track of your progress and increase your chances of success.

Keep us informed next time you pop into our Notting Hill dental surgery or tweet us at @Number18Dental to let us know how you’re getting on. From everyone at Number 18 Dental, Happy New Year!

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