USC University of Southern California

Oral Health Resolutions for 2009

By Angelica Urquijo

It’s the start of a New Year, which means it’s time to take a look at the list of resolutions for 2009.  If you’ve been thinking about a plan that will help you stay on track– you’re not alone.

At the top of nearly everyone’s list is leading a healthier lifestyle and improving one’s appearance.  If that is your goal, oral health should be included.  It’s not only good for your mouth but also good for your body.

Research shows that oral health has a significant  impact on  wellbeing.  Gum disease known as periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, memory loss, and even low birth weight.

Taking the proper steps now, regardless of age, will help lead to a longer, healthier, more-active life.

“The appearance of your teeth and smile is extraordinarily important to success in everything from your career to your love life,” said Robert Keim, associate professor and director of the University of Southern California, School of DentistryOral Health Center.  “No other single factor influences a typical person’s psychosocial life trajectory more than the appearance of their face and smile.”

So how do you make sure the toothbrush doesn’t end up in a drawer much like the gym card after a few weeks into the New Year?

Most people end up giving up on resolutions right around Valentines Day. But don’t let failed resolutions of the past stop you this year.

“Whether you’re working toward a trimmer body, less stress in your life or a healthier smile, it’s important to set realistic expectations that you can accomplish,” Keim said.

Good oral health can indirectly help you attain your other health-related goals.

Oral problems can sabotage a person’s plan to loose those unwanted pounds during the New Year.

Pain or discomfort due to oral disease can negatively influence food choices.  For example, reaching for soft, carb-laden pasta and ice cream versus crisp vegetables and protein such as chicken.

Tooth decay and oral pain can also affect concentration and lead to missed days in the classroom or on the job.

Research has shown that an unattractive smile can negatively affect occupational outcomes and career success.

Establishing healthy oral habits will make it easier to stay on track and succeed in meeting your other health related goals. Good dental health only takes a few minutes a day.

Follow these simple steps to ensure a healthier, more-attractive smile and body:

  • Resolve to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing allows you to remove plaque. Choose fluoride toothpaste to reduce tooth decay and prevent cavities.
  • Resolve to replace your toothbrush every three months.
  • Resolve to floss your teeth for three minutes to remove plaque between your teeth at least once a day.
  • Resolve to eat healthy snacks and nutritious meals and cut down on sugary drinks.
  • Resolve to address any issues that detract from the esthetic appearance of your smile.
  • Resolve to visit your dentist for check-ups and schedule cleanings at least twice a year.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure a great smile and create healthy habits that will allow you not only to stick to your resolutions but also ensure a healthier you.

When shopping for that new pair of gym shoes or workout clothes don’t forget to pick up your new toothbrush.

The Oral Health Center is the USC School of Dentistry Faculty Practice located in the University Village.  The ultra modern practice provides students, faculty, staff and residents from the surrounding USC community and Downtown Los Angeles with high-quality, affordable dental services from expert practitioners.