It’s January and resolutions are in full swing. Add oral health to your 2017 resolutions by considering the following health tips.

1) Go to the Dentist
Despite the common dread of a dental visit, regular check-ups and cleanings are vital to oral health. They allow practitioners to examine the nooks and crannies that most people miss through brushing and flossing. Make it a priority to visit the dentist and get a proper cleaning twice a year to optimize a healthy smile.

2) Brush for a whole two minutes
How long do you brush your teeth? The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes twice a day. Consider a timer when brushing, or hum your favorite song to the tune of two minutes.

3) Floss daily
Brushing, alone, does not fully remove plaque. Floss once a day to target the 40 percent of the mouth that is unreachable for toothbrushes. Irregular or incorrect flossing leads to bleeding gums and possible infection. Regular flossing keeps gums healthy and strong.

4) Get some new gear
Don’t wait until next Christmas to go shopping. Invest in an electric toothbrush or a waterpik for ease of cleaning and effectiveness. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in timers, and waterpiks are great for children who have difficulty flossing.

5) Limit snacking
Regular snacking prolongs the amount of time food sits on the teeth, which increases the risk of bacteria buildup. If you’re in the mood for a healthy snack, try hard, raw vegetables and fresh fruits which act as natural toothbrushes.

6) Watch the sugars
Sticky candies, such as taffy and caramels, increase the chance of tooth decay because of their prolonged contact to teeth. Sugary candies increase the acidic content of the mouth, which causes the breakdown of enamel. If you have a sweet tooth, try fresh fruit or dark chocolate. Apples have malic acid, which helps whiten teeth, and the peel itself helps clean the teeth while eating. Dark chocolate is a good source of polyphenols that help limit oral bacteria.

Incorporate these tips for a sparkling 2017. For more helpful tips, or to schedule an appointment, call Champagne Family Dentistry or Champagne Pediatric Dentistry: 775.359.3934.