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You’ve spent nearly your whole life brushing and flossing your teeth and attending regular dental appointments in order to keep your mouth healthy. But there are plenty of reasons why you might want to go beyond these basic steps to achieve even better oral health in the new year. Whether you need to take additional measures for preventing future cavities, you have a history of gum disease or you simply want to keep your teeth in top-notch shape, here are a few dental resolutions you can make for 2013.

Chew Sugarfree Gum After Meals
Even if your mother always told you not to chew gum, you can feel free to ignore that advice for the sake of your dental health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), studies have shown that if you chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating a meal, this easy step could help reduce your risk for tooth decay.

The reason? Chewing promotes the flow of saliva in your mouth, which can help wash away harmful acid that’s created by the bacteria on your teeth. Look for sugar free gum that carries the ADA’s stamp of approval, which means that the ADA has found evidence that that particular type of gum can reduce plaque acid and provide other oral benefits without harming gum tissues.

Don’t Ignore Your Tongue
If bad breath is a problem for you, make sure to focus on cleaning your tongue as well as your teeth and gums. According to the ADA, thoroughly brushing your tongue could help you get rid of the bacteria that cause some bad odors in the mouth.

The ADA notes that using a tongue scraper—a simple tool that cleans the top layer of your tongue—can also help reduce odors. Whether you use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper, if the problem persists even after you’ve taken steps to regularly clean your tongue, you should consult with a dentist or a physician who may be able to find another cause for the odor.

Do a Self-Examination
It’s a great idea to evaluate the effectiveness of your oral care routine from time to time, especially if you’re trying out different products and techniques and you want to compare how well they’re working.

A good way to test this out is by conducting a self-examination that will allow you to see how much plaque is on your teeth. Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare notes that you can use disclosing tablets, disclosing solution and disclosing swabs for this purpose. All of these products are easy to use and will temporarily stain the plaque on your teeth so that you can see how much plaque is left behind after your daily oral care routine. These products can also help you pinpoint the areas in your mouth that may require more attention.

Optimize Your Drinking Water
Many people rely on water filtration systems to purify their tap water and remove harmful substances. However, some of these systems also get rid of good substances, such as fluoride. The fluoridation of drinking water is a public health initiative that adds fluoride to the water supply in order to improve overall oral health and help prevent tooth decay in people of all ages.

If you’re planning on investing in a water purification method, make sure you use one that doesn’t filter out fluoride. If your current system doesn’t carry the ADA’s stamp of approval, switch to a purifier that does.

In addition to continuing your brushing and flossing routine in 2013, consider adding one or more of these steps to your oral care regimen. Good oral health is not only vital for maintaining strong teeth and gums, but it can also have a significant effect on your overall health. Gum disease has been linked to certain types of heart disease and unhealthy teeth can limit the variety of foods you’re able to eat.

Whether you need to fight bad breath, evaluate your plaque levels, ensure that your drinking water is fluoridated or give your mouth a boost of acid-fighting power, taking these extra steps can give your mouth a healthy and brilliant start to the new year.

About Adam Kutner
About the Author: Adam works with many in the health care industry to educate and expose proven methods for increasing fitness and overall health. Adam is a proponent of a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
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