As 2022 is winding down and we are looking at 2023, it’s time to consider ways that we might make next year better than the last. This is the overall point of New Year’s resolutions. When it comes time to choose your resolution or resolutions for 2023, a good strategy is to choose ones that will improve both your oral and overall health, since the two are closely related.

Resolutions aren’t easy to keep, and sometimes they require additional help. The Rochester, NY holistic dentists at Contemporary Dentistry are here to help you, offering minimally invasive dentistry that uses prevention to help you stay healthy rather than focusing on expensive interventions that become necessary once you get unhealthy. We are here to help you with these or other oral health resolutions that can give you a firm foundation for making the most of 2023.

senior adult man stretching during an outdoor exercise class

#1 Lose Weight

Losing weight is one of the most popular resolutions every year. It’s with good reason, too. Carrying extra weight can lead to numerous health problems, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. But did you know that being overweight is also bad for your teeth?

It’s true: being overweight can increase your risk of gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults. We’re not exactly sure why. It could be because of diabetes, which does increase gum disease risk. However, the link could be systemic inflammation. Local, acute inflammation is part of the healing process, but chronic, systemic inflammation can lead to numerous chronic health problems.

Gum disease is partly an infection of your gum tissue, but it’s also partly due to your body’s outsized reaction to the infection, which speeds up the destruction of the bones around your teeth. Systemic inflammation could make your immune system more likely to escalate its response to oral bacteria in this damaging way.

The relationship can be both ways, too, as an unhealthy mouth can contribute to weight gain.

#2 Make Your Exercise Routine Tooth-Healthy

Along with losing weight, many people resolve to exercise more. Whether you are adding a new exercise regime to your schedule or trying to maintain the old one, resolve to make it healthier for your teeth.

There are many ways to do this, such as wearing a mouthguard whenever you play sports. You can also work to stay hydrated (more on this later). In addition, try to cut down on exercise-related foods that are hard on your teeth. Sports drinks, for example, are high in sugar, and very acidic, making them damaging to your teeth. Runners’ bars and gel snacks are also bad for teeth because they’re packed with carbs that oral bacteria on your teeth will use to make acid that will damage your teeth.

#3 Stop Smoking (or Using Other Tobacco)

Quitting smoking is a great resolution to improve your oral and overall health. Tobacco use increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and more deadly complications. It’s also bad for your teeth.

Smoking has been linked to a threefold increase in your risk of tooth loss because it increases gum disease risk. Dry mouth and inflammation are two of the most likely causes of this relationship.

#4 Limit Alcohol Use

Alcohol is hard on your body, and it’s hard on your teeth. Dehydration puts your teeth at risk for cavities. In addition, vomiting linked to overconsumption of alcohol causes erosion of your tooth enamel, which the body cannot easily replace or heal.

It’s not just the alcohol that’s a concern here, it’s what comes with the alcohol, too, including sugar and acids, which are both bad for teeth.

#5 Cut Back on Sugar

Too much sugar is bad for your health. It can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular risks. It can contribute to systemic inflammation, too.

For your teeth, the danger of sugar and other refined carbohydrates is serious and begins immediately, in your mouth. Oral bacteria consume the sugar you eat, turning it into acids, which break down the enamel of your teeth.

#6 Improve Brushing and Flossing Habits

Another way to protect your teeth is to resolve to improve your oral healthcare routine. This means brushing more effectively as well as more often. It also means you should resolve to make sure you floss every day.

Brushing and flossing your teeth remove plaque from the surface of your teeth. Plaque is a combination of oral bacteria, their protective slime, and food residue. The longer plaque stays on your teeth, the more likely it is to lead to cavities and gum disease.

Effective brushing means brushing for a full two minutes every time. It also means making sure your toothbrush isn’t too worn out. Choose a healthy toothpaste, too, something not too abrasive (which will wear away your tooth enamel). We can help you find a good toothbrush and healthy toothpaste.

#7 Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

We’ve talked before about the role of inflammation in gum disease. It’s not just fat, tobacco, and alcohol that contribute to inflammation in your body. Many foods can also increase your level of systemic inflammation. There are many guides out there to help you cut inflammatory foods from your diet, but we can also help you design a healthy diet that will protect your oral and overall health.

#8 Eat a Probiotic Diet

Your mouth is what we often describe as a microbiome. It’s an ecosystem where living things thrive or struggle depending on the conditions you create there.

The conditions you create can either help healthy bacteria thrive (what we call a probiotic diet), or it can lead to the growth of unhealthy bacteria.

Eating a probiotic diet doesn’t necessarily mean taking probiotics. It’s more likely to mean eating foods and practicing other habits that make it more likely that healthy bacteria will thrive in your mouth, reducing the risk that unhealthy bacteria will become dominant.

#9 Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important in making your mouth a healthy microbiome. If your body has the water it needs, it will produce sufficient saliva. Saliva helps maintain a neutral or basic pH in your mouth–unhealthy bacteria favor an acidic environment. Minerals in saliva help repair your teeth when the pH is neutral or basic. Plus, saliva contains antibacterial compounds that help control the growth of harmful bacteria.

However, remember that hydration isn’t about drinking a certain amount of water every day, it’s about balancing your water intake against water loss, and learning to understand the signs that your body needs more liquid.

#10 Start Seeing a Holistic Dentist

If you want to make a change that will improve both your oral and overall health, resolve to see a holistic dentist. A holistic dentist can help you achieve all the above changes. They won’t use dental treatments that can be harmful to the rest of your body. They’ll also help you understand how changes to your lifestyle can impact both your teeth and body.

Get Holistic Dentistry in Rochester, NY

If you are looking for a holistic dentistry practice in Rochester NY, Contemporary Dentistry is here for you. We offer a full range of holistic dental services, from minimally invasive dental care to non-metal dental implants.

Want to learn how we can improve your oral health? Please call (585) 244-3337 or use our online form today to request an appointment at Contemporary Dentistry in Rochester, New York.