January 8, 2015
By Tom Canty, Vice President and General Manager, Empire BlueCross BlueShield Government, Labor and Special Accounts
The holiday season is over, which means we’re beginning to settle back into our old familiar routines, including those related to health care. In addition to your New Year’s resolutions to exercise more and lose those 5 lbs. you just put on… don’t forget that your oral health is as important, or more important, than fitting back into your old blue jeans.
Here are some great tips to help you keep your pearly whites strong throughout the new year:
1. Two and Two. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends people brush their teeth two times a day for two minutes. This simple habit can make a big difference over time.
2. Avoid hard candy and other sweets that might stay in the mouth for a long period of time. The quantity and the amount of time sugary foods and sweets stay in the mouth plays a major role in tooth decay.
3. Limit the amount of sticky and/or chewy candies. It’s more than likely that over the holidays you did your fair share of munching on those mouthwatering pieces of sticky or chewy sweets like caramel, toffee and fudge. Now, it’s time to pass on them: stickier candies take longer to get washed away by saliva and can increase the risk for tooth decay. And some of the stickier candies and desserts can loosen or remove fillings, crowns and other dental work.
4. Drink water, water and more water. When teeth are in constant contact with beverages that contain sugar, there is an increased risk of tooth decay. Balance things out by drinking water in between drinking sugary beverages. If bottled water is an option, make sure to choose the fluoridated bottled water.
6. Visit the dentist. Remember to schedule a checkup appointment with the dentist. It’s important to maintain regular and routine preventive dental care during the holidays and throughout the year because a regular dental exam can bring attention to issues that aren’t visible or painful in the early stages. A dentist can spot early warning signs in the mouth that may indicate disease elsewhere in the body1.
Get ready for a wonderful new year and remember to keep these tips in mind!