A Head Start with Good Oral Health for the Year Ahead

written by samantha tillapaugh from the debtist

If you told me that you missed your routine dental check-up and cleaning in 2020, I’ll say you wouldn’t be the first. Let us face it. 2020 brought on a slew of unexpected lemons thrown our way and now we are all here, at the beginning of a new year, sitting around with a whole lot of lemonade.  If anything, we did good people! I would hardly expect dental care to have been at the top of everyone’s to-do list. We were all trying to maintain good health in other, more important ways (myself included).

A Look Ahead

However, it is now 2021 (Happy New Year!) and the perfect time to get in the full swing of things. If you are writing down a list of New Year’s Resolutions in hopes that this year becomes our best one yet, I would like to urge you to place dental care and oral health at the top of the list.

Back in March, a majority of dental offices closed their doors for a period of time. Dentists across the globe were assessing the situation, calculating risks, and racking our brains for additional precautions needed to deliver oral health care in a safe manner. We re-opened tentatively for emergency treatment until resuming preventative appointments in the summer season. Even after the doors re-opened fully, people were hesitant to leave the safety of their homes, which is completely understandable. Unfortunately, this avoidance caused an increase in dental treatment for many of my patients. This is costly in time and money, both valuable commodities after such a hectic year. 

I know that seeing the dentist isn’t a favorite activity but seeking preventative care will definitely set one up for a successful year. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get. 

Bogobrush x The Debtist

Tips to get a head start on your oral health in 2021

  • Make a resolution to floss daily. I know that flossing isn’t the most fun activity in the world (except for dental dorks like me), but doing so will prevent cavities from starting in between your teeth. Even if you brush twice a day and use mouthwash, there are certain areas that can only be cleaned with floss. 
  • Be mindful of what you eat. This resolution is popular and shows up on resolution lists in many different ways. While eating less carbs and sugar is good for the body as a whole, it also affects oral health. Carbohydrates and simple sugars are the exact ingredients that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. Reducing their intake will make a huge difference in protecting enamel, the outer layer of all teeth.
  • Drink more water each day. People are always shocked when I tell them that saliva has protective factors for the oral cavity. The winter season is typically associated with dryness and dehydration. Drinking plenty of water will help produce more saliva, as well as rinse out the oral cavity frequently.
  • Reduce stress both at work and at home. The prevalence of teeth grinding has increased significantly in recent years due to our stressful lifestyles. I recommend a night guard to almost all of my patients having frequently observed moderate wear or occasionally, a fractured tooth. To help reduce stress during the day, schedule down-time and take plenty of breaks. I personally enjoy using meditation apps such as Tide or Headspace, as well as practice yoga as a form of exercise. 
  • Quit chewing or smoking tobacco. If you’ve been thinking of quitting for a while, this would be a great year to start! Not only is it bad for the oral cavity, it also is detrimental to your lungs, an organ to protect this time of year.
  • Lastly, stay up to date with routine check-ups and cleanings. Don’t give a tiny cavity the chance to grow into a large gaping hole. Diagnosing dental decay early on could avoid time-consuming and more expensive dental treatment. Plus, routine cleanings can keep gum disease away, thus protecting your gum tissues and circumventing the need for deep cleanings. I know that many people have some reservations about going into the dental office during this time, but it is very important to do. For peace of mind, you can call ahead to see what your dentist is doing to make your visit as safe as possible.

The bottom line

Now I know I just listed a lot of ideas and I don’t want to overwhelm you so early in the year. However, implementing at least a few of these tips would definitely give one a good head start. Prioritizing health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Don’t let oral health be at the tail end of it!



The Debtist

we’ve partnered with samantha tillapaugh, a general dentist practicing in southern california, to help spread the word about all cool things dental. when she isn’t sharing informative posts about teeth with us, she is writing at her own lifestyle blog as thedebtist. aside from writing, she travels the world, reads plenty of books sidled up next to her adopted, toothless cat, bakes sourdough bread and works as a tooth-fairy.