Improving Your Health in 2014

Whether you like New Year’s Resolutions or want to avoid them, January gives you the opportunity to take stock of changes you want to make. “The beginning of a new calendar year is a great time to look at what you want to improve over the next months,” says Dr. Carol Ford. “There are many small changes you can make that add up to big health benefits,” she continues.

1. Mindful brushing. There’s a well-known saying among dentists—you don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

A small change for the better you can make is to brush your teeth mindfully and carefully, for two minutes, morning and night. If you are a rushed brusher, this one change can improve the health of your gums, brighten your teeth, and avoid a lot of damage by the end of the year.

2. Regular flossing. It’s true, flossing your teeth is not anyone’s idea of a good time. But flossing is important to keeping your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, the number of  US adults over 65 years old with none of their own teeth dropped about 6.5 percent from 1972 to 2001. But from 2001 to 2004, the number leapt up more than 13 percent.  Flossing is a big reason for keeping your teeth. If you hate flossing, check out these alternatives that may be more comfortable for you.

Best_Dentist3. Stop smoking. You already know that smoking is bad for your lungs, but it’s also bad for your teeth. Smoking stains your teeth, and much worse: “Smoking increases your chances for oral cancer and gum disease,” warns Dr. Ford. “The good news is there is more help than ever to stop smoking—find a way that works for you and save your gums, your teeth, and your life,” she adds.

There are many ways to improve your dental and overall health, but these three steps are the ones that are most dramatic and will give you a brighter smile quickly.

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