Six steps toward a healthier 2021
As we journey on in 2021, New Year’s resolutions for wellness remain more important than ever — and staying healthy continues to be at the top of everyone’s minds.
Your oral health is closely connected with your overall health. By taking care of your teeth and gums each day, you’re also taking steps toward better health and well-being for your whole body.
If you have faltered on your New Year’s resolutions so far, don’t worry – it takes time to solidify new healthy habits, and it also is not too late to begin working on some oral health resolutions, if you haven’t already.
Delta Dental of Illinois recommends six steps for a healthier you that you can re-focus on or begin anew now:
- Schedule a checkup with your dentist. Seeing your dentist regularly for preventive checkups helps to detect problems early. During an exam, your dentist can identify cavities and gum disease and detect signs of many diseases — including heart disease, diabetes and oral cancer — which have symptoms that appear in the mouth. Early detection and treatment can prevent oral and overall health issues from getting worse. Make it a priority to schedule a dentist visit early on in 2021!
- Set a goal to improve your oral health routine. That includes flossing daily and brushing with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, twice a day. While most Illinoisans brush twice a day, almost two-thirds (64%) admit to skipping a brushing at least once a month.1 Staying vigilant with daily brushing and flossing can help to prevent tooth decay, which is nearly 100% preventable but remains one of the most common chronic diseases among children and adults.2
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Foods packed with lean protein and calcium — such as milk, cheese, chicken, fish and eggs — help to keep your teeth strong. Fruits and vegetables are key to a balanced diet. Choose crunchy fruits and veggies, such as apples and carrots, to help stimulate saliva and clean your teeth.3
- Drink more water. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the best things you can do for your teeth. The water cleans your mouth and helps to prevent cavities by washing away leftover food and diluting acids. By choosing water, you avoid the sugar often found in soda, juice and sports drinks. And because every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly, drinking water is essential for your overall health.
- Reduce and manage stress. Manage stress by staying active, meditating and getting enough sleep. Stress and anxiety can take a toll on your mental health and make you more susceptible to oral health problems such as teeth grinding, canker sores, dry mouth and toothaches.
- Avoid tobacco and limit alcoholic beverages. Smoking and using other tobacco products increase your risk of lung cancer, gum disease and oral cancer. Making a plan to quit can improve your oral and overall health. Alcohol can also increase your risk of oral cancer, liver and kidney disease. Limiting your intake of alcoholic beverages can help prevent these health problems.
Getting the most out of your dental coverage can play a big role in helping achieve your goals for better health. Preventive care has long been a priority in dental benefit plans.
Here’s wishing you great oral and overall health in 2021. For more tips on protecting your oral health, visit deltadentalil.com/oral-health.
1 2018 Delta Dental of Illinois Oral Health and Well-Being Survey
2 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
3 American Dental Association