By Lawrence Spindel DDS , Wednesday, December 28, 2011        Dentist New York

1. Stop eating sweet snacks! Although we all crave sweets, snacking on them definitely make us predisposed to tooth decay, and even make us more at risk for developing diabetes. Constantly dosing yourself with sucrose can cause tooth decay since will tend to make your teeth exposed to a more acidic environment since the bacteria coating your teeth easily metabolize sucrose. Acids are a byproduct of their metabolism.

2. Have at least two dental cleanings a year. I find that the majority of patients although they mean to, actually do not achieve this goal. It turns out that on the average they have about one cleaning every 8-10 months. For this reason, I and other dentists avdvocate pre-appointing our patients recall appointments. Although many patients prefer a six month call to remind them that it is time, this practice is more likely to result in cleanings scheduled less frequently than every six months.

3. Go ahead and restore that tooth that your dentists keeps reminding you to crown. Why wait until it starts hurting? Although few patients looking forward to having a crown done, procrastinating is not a good idea.

4. Stop chewing on hard things that can result in chipped or cracked teeth. Chewing on ice cubes, bones, hard candies, pens, pipe stems or finger nails can definitely damage your teeth.

5. Stop smoking. Aside from the obvious health problems associated with smoking, its bad for the health and appearance of your teeth. It is associated with bad breath, yellowing of teeth, staining of teeth, periodontal disease and oral cancer.

6. Start using a good electric tooth brush. Although many people feel that a standard tooth brush is all they need, most benefit from using a good electric model. Most require less time and technique to do a thorough job.

7. Although most people would benefit from wearing a night guard few choose to wear one. As a dentist practicing for over thirty years that the majority of patients experience wear and chipping of their teeth associated with bruxism. Most are unaware of this night time activity but wear patterns of anterior teeth are a definite tell tale sign of this nighttime activity. If your anterior teeth are displaying wearing at the edges then most likely a night guard would be beneficial.

8. If you have whitened your teeth more than a year ago then its time to perform a touch up. These can easily be performed in a night or two if you have a set ofcustom whitening trays.

9. Start cleaning the plaque from between your teeth. Forty percent of tooth surfaces are not cleaned by brushing alone. Using floss, stimudents or a small interdental brush will clean the areas that your brush misses. Also using a Waterpik appliance will tend to reduce the amount bacteria found in crevicular fluid. Reducing interproximal plaque will definitely lessen gingival inflammation and give their gums a healthier appearance.

10. Improve your smile. Although this sounds like a blatant plug for cosmetic dentistry I truly believe it is not without merit. I have witnessed the change in patients after having some minor cosmetic modifications of the their anterior teeth. Once whatever was making them self conscious about their smile is fixed they seem to smile more easily and more frequently. There are plenty of articles proposing that happy people are probably healthier. Stress and worry can cause us to lose sleep, weaken our immune systems and develop health problems. If having an attractive smile encourages us to smile more then just possibly we will experience more happiness. If minor tooth movement, whitening or minor bonding might help, why not go ahead and treat yourself to a better smile this year.