Some New Year's resolutions for your patients

Dec. 6, 2001
When your patients are making New Year resolutions this year, remind them to remember their choppers -- and resolve to improve your oral health -- and maintain a strong, healthy set of teeth.

Good oral health is more than having white teeth and a bright smile -- it is an important component of a person's total health. So when your patients are making New Year resolutions this year, remind them to remember their choppers -- and resolve to improve your oral health -- and maintain a strong, healthy set of teeth.

The Ohio Dental Association offers the following list of resolutions to help keep teeth strong and healthy, and Dr. Bruce Grbach, a dentist in family practice in Mentor, discusses each resolution.

* I resolve to throw away those old toothbrushes and replace them with new ones. "Dentists recommend replacing the toothbrush every two to three months. Soft bristle brushes are recommended, and you should brush well, but don't 'scrub' your teeth."

* I resolve to schedule regular appoints with the dentist for my family and myself. "For basic oral care, we recommend seeing the dentist every six months for a cleaning and examination. People with periodontal disease generally see their dentist more frequently, as determined by their dentist."

* I resolve to be aware of how poor nutrition can impact oral health, and will make sure that what we eat and drink will not hurt our teeth and gums. "It is important to reduce the consumption of soda pop, low-nutrition snacks and foods high in sugar. If you cannot brush immediately after drinking pop or eating sweets, if possible, rinse the mouth with water or chew sugarless gum to help flush away the acids that form on the teeth."

* I resolve that my children will wear a mouthguard when involved in any contact sport. "All youth in contact sports should wear a properly-fitted mouthguard. Doing so can prevent injury to the teeth, knocked out teeth, or trauma to the mouth."

* I resolve to not use tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco. "If you use tobacco in any form, eliminating these harmful substances from your body will reduce the risk of oral cancer. And using smokeless tobacco is no safer than cigarettes."

* I resolve to ask my dentist about cosmetic options for chipped or stained teeth. "There are a number of procedures and options that can make your smile brighter for the new year, and they are relatively simple procedures. It's especially important if there are stains or visible damage to the front teeth."

* I resolve to get fluoride from other sources because I mostly drink bottled water. "I would recommend that individuals who don't drink water from a fluoridated source ask their family dentist about fluoride gels."

* I resolve to let my dentist know about any medical conditions or medications I am taking so that he can be a true partner to my overall health. "Dentists need this information because it can help with the examination and diagnosis. For example, certain medications cause dry mouth, which by reducing the saliva can also increase the likelihood for dental caries (cavities)."

* I resolve, because I am pregnant, to see my dentist within the first trimester, and discuss an appropriate care regimen to protect my teeth, and those of my baby. "It's especially important during pregnancy to maintain a good regimen of brushing and flossing, and ensuring proper nutrition. This can help keep you and your baby healthy and strong."

* I resolve not to chew on ice or hard candies. "It's important to stick to this resolution so you don't end up with broken teeth and needing dental work that would normally not be necessary. It's not uncommon to get a cracked or broken tooth from chewing on something hard."