With the New Year in full swing, a lot of people have made their goals and, in many cases, already given up on them. Even so, this is the perfect time to take a look at our current habits and routines and decide to make some changes that will improve your overall oral hygiene and health.

Why Good Oral Hygiene is Important

It really is important to take some time this year and set some new goals for practicing better hygiene. According to the statistics from the CDC, only about 60% of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 will visit the dentist each year. That leaves a lot of people who aren’t seeing a professional for cleanings, checkups, and important corrections.

Preventative dental care is critical for anyone who wants to keep their teeth late into life. The thought of losing all your teeth is one of those things that we’re always sure “only happens to other people,” but right now about 5% of adults between 40 and 59 years of age are missing all their teeth—that is 1 out of every 20 middle-aged people who are missing their teeth. We can do full mouth restorations these days, of course, but you’ll be a lot happier if you set your goals and improve your oral hygiene today.

Setting Goals for Good Oral Hygiene

Start with simple goals and see where you can find room for improvement. Some goals you might consider adding to your list are:

Brush your teeth

Yes, this seems obvious, but how often do you let a day go by without brushing after every meal? How often do you just hop into bed at night without brushing? That’s a full 6 to 8 hours that the bacteria in your mouth will have to play and cause problems. Decide now to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and after every meal if possible.

Use the right equipment

This is not about going and buying an expensive electronic toothbrush (that’s up to you), but it is about replacing your current toothbrush every three to four months. If it begins to show wear sooner than that, well, good work. This shows you’re brushing as often as you should. Just remember that it also means you need to change your toothbrush regularly.

Use floss

A lot of people who are in the habit of brushing after every meal still don’t use floss as often as they should. The decay-causing bacteria will hide away between teeth where the bristles can’t get them. The only way is to be proactive about it and use floss or an inter-dental cleaner at least once a day, but preferably every time you brush.

Visit the dentist regularly

Despite your best efforts, there is always a chance that some decay could be causing some trouble with your teeth. Sometimes the only way to catch those problems is through a professional exam. X-rays, advanced dental equipment, and professional cleanings will help you catch serious problems and eliminate them before they get out of hand. Don’t let your regular checkups slip by this year.

These goals are about more than just correcting or preventing potential dental conditions. Better oral health promotes confidence, helps you save money, and lets you keep a bright, happy smile for many, many years.