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Heading into 2021, we're all thinking of our health more than ever, and oral health is at the top of the list. As you start taking steps to prioritize being and staying well, there are some key things to consider to make sure your smile stays at its best as well.

"The first thing we all often default to in our general health is to eat more fruits and vegetables, and that's actually really important for your teeth too," shared Dr. Mandy Shearer with Soddy Daisy Smiles. "The nutrients and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables improve your ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, which also helps protect teeth and gums."

She added that crisp fruits and raw vegetables can also help to act like natural toothbrushes by cleaning plaque from teeth and freshening your breath in between actual brushing.

And of course, while you want to make sure you're getting your daily fruit intake for your overall health, watching the amount of citrus is crucial because though it's got good benefits and flavor, too much can erode the teeth's enamel and lead to decay and cavities over time. Dr. Robert Shearer added that if you have or are prone to mouth sores, those citrusy fruits can cause more pain and irritation, so moderation is best.

"Coffee and tea are another vice for many people to get that all important caffeine boost," said Dr. Mandy. "However, the problem comes when you add the sugar. Be sure to dial it down or do without if you can and be mindful that these beverages do cause staining in excess, so follow them with plenty of water."

Another tip to look to, especially for your oral and overall health, is to stop using any form of tobacco. If this is a habit you've been looking to kick, there's no better time to start than now.

"Smoking and chewing tobacco causes discoloration, cavities, gum disease, and so many other oral problems," Dr. Robert said. "Smokers are also about twice as likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers are, but thankfully effects can be reversed as soon as you stop."

And while most folks enjoy ringing in the new year with that beverage of choice, it's important to remember to enjoy those in moderation to help your teeth stay healthy too. Dr. Mandy shared that according to the Academy of General Dentistry, heavy drinkers usually have increased gum recession, and smokers who regularly consume alcohol are less likely to brush their teeth regularly, which in turn causes more issues including cavities, gum disease, and more.

"Of course the most important thing you can do to help your teeth and gums is brushing and flossing regularly," Dr. Robert noted. "By brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once, you're giving yourself the best chance to avoid plaque build up and dental discomfort in the long run."

There are also some things you can do to help improve your smile, like whitening either in office or at home on your own with dentist recommend over the counter products.

"Whitening enhances the appearance of teeth by removing deep and surface stains," Dr. Mandy said. "Tooth whitening products are typically categorized into two major groups: Whitening toothpastes (dentifrices) and peroxide-containing bleaching agents, and if you have questions about which one is best for you, we can help."

Finally, if you haven't had a regular dental checkup in the last six months, it's time to see your dentist. Dr. Mandy said they recommend visits every six months to maintain solid oral wellness and help detect any potential problems and determine a course of treatment if necessary.

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If you have questions or concerns about things you can do to help improve your teeth and oral health, seek advice from your dentist or schedule an appointment for a cleaning and an exam right away.

For more information, call Soddy Daisy Smiles at 423-332-5275 to schedule an appointment or visit soddydaisysmiles.com.

Noteworthy:

"The nutrients and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables improve your ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, which also helps protect teeth and gums."- Dr. Mandy Shearer.

For more information:

For more information, call Soddy Daisy Smiles at 423-332-5275 to schedule an appointment or visit soddydaisysmiles.com.

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