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Happy New Year, Tooth Fans!

My favorite part of the new year is how you can start everything over from scratch, symbolically at least. You get brand new calendars and make resolutions on how this year will be different from the one before.

And while time is really an artificial construct and 12:00 am January 1, 2020 is not really all that far from December 31, 2019, the symbolism of starting fresh in January, with a healthier attitude and a sentiment of optimism is very attractive to me. It’s also encouraging to see society as a whole making plans for self improvement and better living.

So what was my New Year’s resolution? 

I was listening to a piece on Relevant Radio a few years back and one of the guests mentioned that rather than making resolutions, she’ll find a word she wants to focus on for the year, and spend her time trying to live out that word to the best of her ability.

My word last year was balance, and boy was that put to the test when I found out just a few days into 2019 that I was going to have a new baby to add to the work/life balance we all so desperately try to achieve.

Was I always as level headed and balanced as I wanted to be throughout the year? Of course not! Just ask my husband what those crazy pregnancy hormones put us through! (You could probably ask the Drews Dental staff too!) But it’s not about being perfect as much as it is about doing one’s best, and that’s why I like the word idea as opposed to a very specific resolution.

Still, any commitment to self-growth and self-improvement is better than nothing and I was curious what the rest of my team might have committed themselves to this year.

Anyone else in the office have any resolutions?

I learned there are a few of our team members who don’t really “do” the whole resolution thing, but the ones who do have some goodies!

Chelsea is resolving to be more patient, Kayla to be less judgmental, Mindy to not stress as much, and to be better this year than she was last year. Emilie is wanting to dedicate more time to her family, and Matt would like to devote more time to growing his leather working business. Check out his great products!

Dr. Drews professed to have given up on making New Year "resolutions" a few years ago when he talked about implementing new habits in the new year instead in this list of dental resolutions. This year he is trying to be more well-rounded and has already signed up for a few non-dental related courses.

And getting back around to me . . . My word for this year is “decisive.”

Believe it or not (and if you know me you certainly believe it), I have an incredibly difficult time making decisions. You know that phrase “paralysis by analysis?” That’s me. It’s one of the qualities I like the least about myself. It can range from just annoying (when I just can’t figure out what we should make for dinner) to sometimes being completely obstructive (like when I hold up all my friends because I can’t make a decision when it’s my turn in a strategy based board game).

Why talk about this here? For one I’m an over-sharer and I like to tell people as much about me as possible. I also wanted to share how some of the most common New Year's Resolutions also affect oral health.

Common Resolutions That Also Help Improve Oral Health

woman in a pink shirt holding a notebook

One of the most popular resolutions is to quit smoking.  I have several patients who have been successful in years past, and several more I’m rooting for this year!

Some choose to quit cold turkey, others use patches or gum. There area also some prescription options you can consider when talking to your doctor. Whichever method you choose, do your best and don't lose heart. There's help. Overcoming an addiction is an amazing feat!

And when you quit smoking you decrease your chances of gum disease and oral cancer and you'll have whiter teeth and better breath!

Many people resolve to lose weight, but even if you don’t need to shed a few pounds, changing your diet to one with less sugar and carbohydrates is healthier for your entire body, as well as for your teeth.

Tired of seeing our ugly mugs so often? Laying off the sweets can help prevent dental decay and consequently save you money and tooth structure!

Here's one your hygienist loves: making your word of the year "floss." It’s a small thing you can do every night before you go to bed that will help you feel less guilty when you come see us.

Flossing is tremendously great for your oral and your overall health! We write about flossing a lot. That's because it's important.

Lots of folks aim to be better organized, making it a resolution to straighten up their houses. You could also straighten up your smile using clear aligners like Clear Correct. Not everyone is a candidate, but we would be more than happy to discuss your options for aligner therapy at any of your appointments with us. And please be cautious about too-good-to-be-true pricing with some online services, not all bargains are bargains as I mentioned in this blog post about at-home aligners.

Fixing something that bothers you about your smile really can change your outlook, your confidence, your ability to clean your teeth and gums more effectively. Trust me, you'll smile more often, too.

Decisions, Decisions

So, this year I’m trying to BE decisive, and in the event that my overly analytic mind refuses to cooperate, I’m going to roll the dice. Literally. I’ve started carrying around a 12-sided die in my pocket.

1-6 yes! 7-12 no!
1-4, option A! 5-8, option B! And 9-12, option C!

The beauty of the die roll is that if you’re disappointed by the result, then you’re forced to see what you really wanted anyway. And if you’re not - and it turns out you really didn’t care - then boom! There’s the decision.

Is that cheating? No. It’s realizing that sometimes I may need a little help achieving my decisive goal and being prepared for that eventuality. Because in the end, it’s about improving, not being perfect. So stick to those resolutions. If you pick up a cigarette on February 5th, start again fresh on February 6th. And keep smiling. 🙂

Love & Decisiveness,

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