Five New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep

Posted on January 14, 2014 in General oral health

If you're making a 2014 New Year's resolution, you're not alone. One study estimates that 45 percent of Americans set goals for themselves at the start of every year. Fast forward 12 months, however, and only eight percent of resolution-makers can say those goals were actually accomplished. This year, be part of the eight percent – resolve to achieve one of these easy, yet effective, oral health goals.

Resolution: Floss! Though everyone should floss at least once a day to help remove debris and plaque from teeth, only 49 percent of Americans say they do – and 10 percent say they never floss. If you're part of the half that flosses less than the recommended amount, fix that in 2014. It's as easy as unspooling 18 inches of floss and adding two minutes to your nightly bedtime routine.

Resolution: Brush twice daily. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, but only 49 percent of American men pick up their toothbrushes more than once a day. At 57 percent, American women don't fare much better. Adding another two-minute brushing session to your day is another easy resolution that requires minimal effort – but delivers mouth-friendly results. For cavity prevention, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste.

Resolution: Stop using your teeth as tools. Your teeth are tools – ones meant for chewing and tearing food, not ripping plastic packages or popping bottle caps open. Using your teeth for tasks like this – or for gnawing on pencils, ice, popcorn kernels or other hard objects – can result in chipped or cracked teeth, possibly even requiring a root canal. It can be tempting to tear with your teeth if you don't have scissors within reach, but finding another creative way to open a bag of chips is a better bet for your oral health.

Resolution: Swap your gum. If you're a regular gum chewer, swap your sugary pack for a sugar-free one. With flavor options ranging from delectable desserts to good old spearmint, there's no reason not to switch to guilt-free gum. Bonus: Chewing sugar-free gum generates saliva, which helps rinse stray food particles and acid from teeth.

Resolution: Trade in your toothbrush every three months. The New Year is the perfect time to put that saying “Out with the old, in with the new” into practice. Worn bristles won't clean your teeth as well, so if you're not consistently swapping out your toothbrush or toothbrush head about every three months as recommended, take 60 seconds right now to go through your calendar and jot down a note to yourself to check your toothbrush every 90 days or so. Some people wear their bristles out sooner, so if your look bent or frayed, they are no longer doing an effective job. Time for a new one!

This year, do yourself – and your teeth – a favor. Make one (or all) of these resolutions that are not only easy to keep, but also easy on your teeth.