This year, make your New Year’s resolution early. No, we’re not talking about losing those five pounds you’ve been hoping to say goodbye to (although this may help with that!), we’re talking about resolving to follow a lifestyle that supports great oral health.
Why address this over the holidays?
Well, holidays are often defined by excess– sometimes wonderful, when it comes to excessive time with friends and family, and sometimes less-than-great, when it comes to all of the food we tend to eat. Usually, people follow up their holiday exuberance with a sobering resolution for the New Year, but we’ve noticed that McGinty Dental Group patients tend to be quicker than the average bear and we know that you’re able start building your oral health lifestyle whenever you want– and before the Christmas cookies get you!
Better oral health starts with just two simple steps:
1) Make like a bunny and…
…. eat your vegetables. Chances are, if you’re like most Americans, you actually aren’t getting your daily five servings of vegetables on a regular basis. No, french fries don’t count. Try incorporating fresh veggies into each of your daily meals to ensure that you’re giving yourself these critical vitamins, minerals, and straight-up goodness that you need for your best health!
An omelette replete with tasty spinach and goat cheese for breakfast, large salad with lunch, a carrot snack, and roasted vegetables with dinner are some easy ways to incorporate nature’s bounty into your everyday meal times.
The importance of eating vegetables is twofold: first of all, it takes up that room in your stomach that might otherwise get filled with simple carbohydrates, fats, and sugars during mealtime. Secondly, when it comes to vitamins, veggies pack a powerful punch: tons of vitamin A and E, which are critical for gum health. To really focus on eating for your gum health, concentrate on dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, and colorful vegetables like squash, carrots, and bell peppers.
2) Watch what you drink
When it comes to healthy eating, we think of just that– healthy eating. But what we drink can make a big impact on our health as well. When you drink high-sugar beverages, you are essentially bathing your teeth and gums in food for the cavity-causing bacteria that are hanging out in our mouths. Worse yet, people often sip sweet drinks rather than gulping them down all at once– this provides long, steady supplies of sugar for the bacteria.
Drinks you should avoid:
- Soda. Most of our super-human patients would never dream of imbibing this acidic, sugary oral health bomb, but if you are considering it– stop. There’s no way around it, soda is terrible for your oral health (and other areas of your health as well).
- Sweetened teas. Sometimes well-meaning people are fooled into thinking sweetened teas are a “healthy alternative” to soda. Don’t let the hype pull the wool over your eyes. Look at the ingredients. If you see sugar, reach for something else.
- Sports drinks. These could be the most insidious bad-for-you drink out there because they target healthy, active people in their advertising campaigns. Sports drinks claim to keep you hydrated and full of electrolytes (a potato also has a lot of electrolytes, and no added sugar), but they are highly acidic and practically rigid with added sugar. These beverages hurt the enamel on your teeth and feed cavity-causing bacteria – don’t drink them.
Try these beverages instead:
- Milk. Well known for its calcium, milk also carries other minerals important for gum health.
- Tea. Unsweetened tea is high in flavonoids which have been shown to support tooth and gum health.
- Water. Yes, water!! Staying hydrated is a critical part of good health.
- Wine. Want to toast your New Year’s resolutions? Wine has antimicrobial properties as well as flavonoids– just be sure to drink some water in between sips because it does carry some sugar.
One last step: