As the new year fast approaches, many of us are reflecting on the past year and making resolutions to better ourselves in the year ahead. Improving your health and well-being are often at the top of the list of goals. Although we think about diet, exercise, and losing weight as part of these goals, dental health tends to take a backseat. However, neglecting your teeth now can lead to problems in the future. 

In 2024, commit to breaking bad dental habits that can affect your smile. By ditching these bad dental habits, you can start the new year on a brighter, healthier path toward excellent oral health. Today, we wanted to review a few of those ideas you’ll want to avoid:

  • Skipping Your Nightly Brushing Routine

If you tend to skip or rush through your daily brushing routine, make this the year you remain committed to your routine. Allowing plaque to accumulate from food, drinks, and bacteria increases your risk for cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and other dental woes. Bush your teeth for a full two minutes with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. This simple routine helps ward off decay and promotes healthy gums. 

  • Missing Your Dental Checkups

Many people avoid or postpone their biannual dental cleanings and exams. However, skipping routine checkups allows decay and gum disease to go undetected. Tartar and plaque buildup can worsen when left untreated. This year, commit to scheduling an appointment every six months for a thorough cleaning and exam. We will remove stubborn built-up plaque and tartar that your toothbrush can’t reach, check for oral health problems, and discuss ways you can improve your at-home routine.

  • Grinding Your Teeth 

If you grind or clench your teeth, it can lead to worn-down tooth enamel. As a result, you deal with increased tooth sensitivity, fractured or chipped teeth, and other complications. If you notice symptoms, talk to our team about getting fitted for a custom night guard. You’ll wear it to bed, which is the most common time of day you will grind your teeth. Also, be mindful during the day if you clench in response to stress. Take breaks to relax your jaw after extended periods of tension. 

  • Using Your Teeth as Tools

Many people are guilty of little ways that harm their teeth and wear down enamel over time. Avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages, rip open bags, crack nuts or ice, tear off tags and labels, pop bottle tops, and so on. Rely on actual tools made for these purposes instead. It will protect your teeth from unnecessary strain and damage. 

  • Overindulging in Sweets

Frequent snacking on sugary treats can erode and weaken tooth enamel. Sugar feeds the bacteria in dental plaque, increasing your risk for cavities. Limit sweets and sugary snacks to meal times only. Brush and floss after to rinse away acids and food particles. Moderation and oral health maintenance are crucial to preventing cavities when you do indulge your sweet tooth. 

This year, resolve to leave behind bad dental care habits once and for all. Protect your pearly whites and gums by being diligent about daily and weekly oral hygiene. Your future smile will thank you!

Call Bickler Dentistry today at 503-647-4645 to schedule an appointment in Salem, OR. You can also make an appointment online.