Five great dental habits for 2023

New year's resolutions

Another year usually starts with a raft of good intentions. Rather than making resolutions that are too drastic to keep, we recommend starting the year off with a few good new habits. And what better place to start than with your teeth? Here are our top five important - and achievable - new habits to improve your dental hygiene this year.

1. Regular dental check-ups

You should visit your dentist at least once every six months for a check-up. Some people can go less often, while some need more regular visits. The important thing is to make appointments as advised by your dentist. You can set up a regular reminder in your phone calendar - say a month before you are due to visit - so you remember to book yourself in.

A regular check-up ensures your dentist can see any problems as they develop and helps keep your mouth healthy. Catching any potential problems early makes them easier and more cost-effective to treat.

During your check-up, your dentist will examine your teeth, gums and mouth. They can also give advice on improving your diet, teeth-cleaning habits, and give you a date for your next visit.

Key takeaway: Set a recurring reminder in your phone to book a regular check-up with your dentist

2. Regular hygienist visits

Like dentist check-ups, hygienist visits are often another thing we know we should do, but remains on our ‘to-do’ lists. We’re all busy people, and finding time to fit another appointment in is tricky. However, regular hygienist visits are part of caring for your mouth - think of them like an MOT.

Hygienists help to keep your mouth healthy. Your hygienist will remove the hard deposits of tartar that build up on the teeth and teach you how to prevent them from coming back. A good hygienist will help teach you how to brush your teeth properly and highlight any areas you may be missing. Regular visits will help prevent gum disease, which is very common and is caused by the build-up of plaque on the teeth.

Visiting a hygienist will not hurt. So as with your dental check-up, schedule a reminder in your diary once every six months or annually, depending on your dental practice’s recommendation.

Hygienist appointments are particularly important for patients with braces, which are harder to clean around.

Key takeaway: Set a recurring reminder in your phone to book a regular check-up with your hygienist

3. Interdental cleaning

We’ve written before about the importance of interdental cleaning. If there is one good dental habit to strive to keep this year - this is it. Interdental cleaning or flossing once a day will help reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease, and give you better breath.

Our selection of flosses and interdental cleaners help you get the job done.

Key takeaway: Stock up on floss or interdental brushes and add them to your dental routine once a day.

4. Reducing sugar intake / cutting out soft drinks

Reducing your sugar intake may already be top of your new year’s resolutions if you’re planning to boost your health. Not only is cutting sugar great for your body - it’s a boon for your teeth, too.

We gave some great advice here on how to reduce the sugar in your diet. Our top tips to get started are: replacing your sugary breakfast cereal with porridge; eliminating fizzy soft drinks; and replacing sweets or chocolate with healthier snacks like small portions of dried fruit and nuts.

Remember that sugar is labelled in different ways. Sucrose, glucose, fructose and corn syrup are all types of sugar - and none are good for our health or teeth.

Key takeaway: Think about simple swaps you can make to cut down on the sugar in your diet.

5. Stopping smoking

One of the worst things you can do to your teeth is smoke. Smoking leads to staining on teeth, can cause gum disease, as well as other serious health risks such as mouth, lung and throat cancer. Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health - and teeth - this year.

If you smoke, you should make sure you visit your dentist regularly so they can catch any problems early. It may be you should go more than once every six months - speak to your dentist about how much you smoke and they can advise you. Your dentist may also recommend you visit the hygienist more often to keep your dental hygiene up to scratch.

Your GP or pharmacist can offer advice on tools and support to help you stop smoking. Your health, teeth and wallet will thank you for it.

Key takeaway: Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health. There is loads of support out there to help you quit. So while it’s hard, think of the savings you’ll make on your health and finances.