A list to help have a healthier mouth in 2016

Instead of resolutions, a checklist for better dental health

By Dr. Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD, Columnist, The Times

UTStephCollogo-251x300I hate resolutions.  Instead of a few well-intentioned destined to fail resolutions, I prefer to make a list. A simple list of some of the many things I would like to accomplish (or make progress toward) during the year.

By now, most resolutions have already become a memory of a good intentions.

I make the list full of big things and little things. Each time I cross an item off the list it’s a victory. The rest, well some will make it next year’s list some will no longer be list-worthy.

So if you’re like me and making the To-Do list for 2016 here’s the things to add.

Visit your dentist for preventive care. If you get your teeth cleaned regularly once you’ve had your visit you can cross this one off your list. When you are there be sure to schedule your next visit. Keeping up with dental care is the key to a healthy smile.

If you smoke, stop. If you don’t encourage a friend or relative to cut back.

Wear your seatbelt. Nothing is worse than seeing how many teeth a steering wheel can damage in an accident.

Do an ounce of dental prevention – this is multiple choice, pick one

Get a fluoride treatment along with your regular hygiene check up.

Spend an extra minute each day on oral hygiene

Replace one sugary beverage a day with water.

Upgrade your toothbrush, if you don’t have sonic brush, get one (and use it) if you do be sure to replace the heads regularly.

Check out your smile – could you teeth be whiter? Straighter?  Your smile says a lot about you.  Be sure it conveys the message you want.

Stop putting off dental care.  If you dentist has recommended treatment, stop putting it off. It doesn’t get better and can become more costly or become an emergency if left untreated.

Partner with your dental team to maximize your dental benefits.   Don’t put off until next year what can be done this year. Dental benefits are “use it or lose it” – don’t let them go to waste.

Stop the grind.  If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth have your dentist make you an appliance designed for you.  Don’t risk broken teeth, headaches and sore chewing muscles – get treated today.

Smile and Laugh.  These activities increase the release of good brain chemicals that reduce stress and promote the release of infection fighting antibodies.  The endorphins released can even reduce pain.

As we tackle the challenges of 2016, remember to take care of yourself.

Dr. Stephanie McGann, who has more than two decades of dental practice experience, is a resident of the Unionville area and along with her partner, Dr. Marie Scott, operates The Brandywine Smile Center, a family-friendly dental practice in Concordville. Dr. McGann has opened a new practice in Valley Township, Rainbow Valley Dental. She is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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