As 2019 comes to a close (already!?), it’s natural for us to start thinking about resolutions for the new year. But before we do, we should first reflect on the past year and look at opportunities for oral care improvement — and, just as importantly — moments where we should be proud of ourselves.

Did you floss more often? Pat yourself on the back. Did you visit the dentist twice this year? Then you’re right on track! Recognize the achievements you made in your general oral health. The confidence you gain in knowing you’ve made those achievements will give you momentum in taking on the new year with even better resolutions.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you prepare for the new year and new resolutions:

  1. Did I set aside enough money in the event of a dental emergency?
    Accidents happen, and for many of us, we may not be adequately prepared for the financial burden that accidents may cause. Not just for our own health, but for our family’s health, too. Depending on your lifestyle, it may be time to start thinking about how you’ll prepare for such an event. For instance, if your family spends a lot of time outdoors hiking and rafting, you may need to put aside some money every month for an emergency fund. Or, consider purchasing supplemental dental insurance for extra peace of mind.
  2. Do I use sufficient tools for my daily oral care routine?
    When was the last time you changed out your toothbrush? The American Dental Association recommends that we replace our toothbrushes every 3-4 months. Are you using floss daily? Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a water flosser. Both a water and string floss are good at removing plaque and preventing gum disease, but which method do you think you’d be more likely to use?
  3. Am I seeing my dentist more than once a year?
    If you take really good care of your teeth, you may be one of the lucky people who could get away with seeing the dentist or hygienist just once a year. However, if you have dental insurance, you more than likely are already paying for two cleanings a year — you should use that benefit! Fun fact: A professional teeth cleaning removes significantly more plaque and tartar than brushing and flossing at home.
  4. Am I getting more complaints about snoring at night?
    It sounds like an all-too-common issue between spouses and family members — someone is snoring too much or too loudly. Did you know that your dentist may actually be able to help identify the issue behind your snoring? You or your loved one may have sleep apnea. There may be a solution that your dentist can help with to address the snoring. Talk with your family dentist at your next appointment.

We all have room to improve, and the new year is a great time to set the wheels in motion for that improvement. Just know that you’re in good company, and that your dentist can provide you some actionable tips for a more beautiful and healthier smile.

Schedule with Dr. Stephen Coates and his Long Beach dental team by calling (562)434-6414 or by requesting an appointment here.