Most Americans make New Year’s resolutions. However, keeping them is another thing entirely. The truth is that many people don’t keep their resolutions even a week, and by the end of January, most people have given up.

If you are making resolutions this year, perhaps you need a little more incentive to keep them. Let us help: many of the most common resolutions also offer benefits for your teeth. While you might not make these resolutions for your smile, perhaps thinking of your smile can help you keep them.

Losing Weight Can Mean Keeping Your Teeth

beautiful woman eating healthy bowl of salad
One of America’s most common New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. This is, of course, great for your health, your appearance, and your self-esteem. However, it can also be beneficial for your teeth too. That’s because obesity is linked to gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

The association between obesity and gum disease seems strong. People who are overweight or obese have higher rates of gum disease than those who are a healthy weight. The reason is unclear, but there are two leading theories.

First, the link might be mediated by diabetes. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, and diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease. That’s in part because diabetes can increase the sugar in your saliva, which feeds oral bacteria.

The other link is inflammation. Fat cells release inflammatory triggers, which lead to systemic inflammation—swelling, and other immune system responses throughout the body. Gum disease is partly an infection and partly the body’s energetic inflammatory response to the infection, which can damage your gums and bones, leading to tooth loss. More significant inflammation from fat could worsen this effect.

So, losing weight is a great way to reduce your risk of gum disease, and help you keep your teeth for life.

Less Sugar Means Fewer Fillings

Another common resolution is improving your diet, often to lose weight, but sometimes just to feel healthier and be happier. Improving your diet can be a boon for your teeth, especially cutting sugar.

Sugar feeds oral bacteria, and when these oral bacteria eat sugar, they excrete acid. Tooth enamel is very strong, but it’s weak against acid. The acid can dissolve your tooth enamel. This is what causes cavities, which we treat with fillings.

Cutting down on your sugar will reduce your risk of cavities, helping you keep your healthy, white teeth longer.

Quitting Smoking for the Health and Beauty of Your Smile

One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. This will not only save you tremendous amounts of money (and thereby help you achieve another common resolution), it will reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, cancer, stroke, and, yes, gum disease.

Smoking dries out your mouth, creating a perfect environment for unhealthy bacteria to thrive. It also fills your mouth with chemicals that can contribute to systemic inflammation, leading to the damaging immune response that makes gum disease worse.

Smokers are three times as likely to lose their teeth, but if you quit smoking, your risk of tooth loss eventually drops to the same as people who never smoked. This is also important if you are considering dental implants to replace lost teeth. Smoking significantly increases your risk of dental implant failure.

Quitting smoking can improve the appearance of your smile. Smoke stains the tooth enamel in ways that are hard to remove. Teeth whitening helps, but the results don’t last long if you’re smoking every day.

Fewer Drinks Mean More Teeth

Many people drink more over the holiday season than they do the rest of the year. So, it’s not surprising that many people resolve to drink less or give up alcohol entirely in the New Year. This not only helps your overall health, but it can also protect your teeth.

Alcohol dehydrates you, which leads to dry conditions in your mouth that foster the growth of oral bacteria, which also feed off the sugars in the drinks. Many alcoholic drinks are also highly acidic—especially wine and citrus-based cocktails. The acid in the drinks weakens and erodes your tooth enamel. This is worsened if you are drinking to excess, causing vomiting, as stomach acids will attack your teeth.

Cutting back on alcoholic drinks is good for your teeth, and if you cut alcohol out entirely, you might see even more benefits.

Resolve to Take Care of Teeth in Wilmington, DE

Whether you choose any of the above resolutions or not, here’s something you should commit to for the New Year: taking care of your teeth. Caring for your teeth is good for your overall health and happiness. Plus, it’s one of the best investments in healthcare. Preventive dental care is relatively inexpensive, and it will save you the cost of expensive dental treatment later.

For help taking care of your smile in the coming year, please call (302) 994-0979 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment at the office of Dr. Michael T. Rosen in Wilmington, DE.