If you were to guess what the top New Year’s resolution was for 2016, what would it be? ABC7Chicago says that while the top resolution was “living life to the fullest,” the next two resolutions were “living a healthier lifestyle” and “losing weight.”

Since it’s December already and the year is winding down, you may be thinking about your own health goals for 2017. While most people will look toward weight loss, why stop there? If you are always seeing inflamed gums or cavities at your oral exams, you may want to throw a dentistry-related resolution in the mix.

While “brushing and flossing” is the go-to answer for oral health, patients can also focus on their diet. And if you are trying to lose weight or improve overall health anyways, a cleaner diet is the way to go. While everyone knows that fruits and veggies are important, a recent blog post does a good job laying out why that’s the case:

Want healthier gums? Eat more of these foods.

Leafy greens

Vegetables like kale and spinach are filled to the brim with mouth-healthy vitamins and minerals. Specifically, they hold vitamin C, which boosts the production of red blood cells and reduces inflammation. Both these benefits battle against irritation and gum disease. Leafy greens require more chewing, thanks to their high fibre content, which is good for gums because the chewing action creates more saliva. This helps to flush out food particles, bacteria, and plaque that may be sticking to your teeth near the gum line. Revamp your diet with power-packed greens by creating salads with them, adding them as a cooked side dish to main meals, and putting them in soups and sandwiches.

Celery, carrots, and apples

Foods that are very crunchy are excellent at scraping away stuck on food and plaque. The hard bits of foods like celery, carrots, and apples get in between teeth and into tooth crevices and can help keep your mouth fresh between brushings. Crunchy fruits and vegetables also happen to be high in fibre, which, again, means they take longer to chew and generate more saliva. Saliva is great for flushing the mouth of bacteria near the gum line. Simply add these foods to your daily diet as snacks to help get rid of food particles between meals. See the entire list at this site . . .

If you are sick of veggies, be aware that unprocessed carbs (like brown rice and wholemeal bread) are great for both weight loss and oral health. Incorporating these kinds of foods into your menus is a good place to start. But keep in mind that your brushing and flossing habits need to sync up with your eating. For instance, since sugar can react with bacteria in your mouth and cause acid, it’s best to hold off brushing for at least half an hour. Otherwise, you could brush those acids into your enamel.

But don’t just stop with your eating habits; many people find that their diets are more successful when they curb sugary beverages. One site explains in more detail as to why tap water is better (usually) for your teeth and overall health than other options:

Bottled Water or Tap? Considerations for your Choice

Most health advocates promote drinking water over sugar sweetened beverages. Many urge tap water over bottled water. That’s the best way to benefit from the prevention provided by the fluoride that is added to community water systems serving about 75% of us. (Most bottled water does not contain the optimal level of fluoride to protect teeth.)

As a result of the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan and the fight to protect the safety of the water at Standing Rock, there is growing awareness of long-ignored water issues around the country, from basic water safety to something we now know as water poverty. The U.S. still has some of the safest drinking water on the planet, but eroding trust means that we are at risk of drinking less of it . . .

And then there is this. Soda companies invest millions of dollars in campaigns to defeat soda taxes that are designed to discourage people from buying and consuming sugar sweetened beverages. (They have also funded successful efforts to influence health organizations.) These taxes are being imposed more widely to help abate the dramatic increase we are experiencing in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, especially among children . . .

So is bottled water a bad choice, the villain? There are lots of reasons why it isn’t as good at tap water for most of us.  However,  for people who are substituting water for soda, or people who whose water is decidedly unsafe, or people who are exploring whether or not to trust what comes from the tap, bottled water is a compromise that we live with until everyone’s right to healthful water is guaranteed. Read full article at this site . . .

As you can see, while the article weighs the pros and cons of drinking water, it pretty much says that any water is a better alternative to soda. The NHS recommends about 8 glasses or 1.2 liters a day. Along with keeping you hydrated and curbing your appetite, staying hydrated will give you the necessary amount of fluoride to help your teeth. You are sure to ace your next oral exam and teeth cleaning if you start making these small changes in 2017!

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