Life

Ask the Dentist: New Year could be the right time for a new smile

Dentist Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast says the new year could be the first step to improving your oral and hence your overall health

Maybe your new year's resolution would be to overcome your fear of the dentist

IT'S the time of year when most of us will have new year's resolutions in mind and if you have been procrastinating about getting your teeth fixed, perhaps the new year will provide the fresh start that you need.

Having healthy teeth is much more than just looking good. A 2010 study of professional baseball players showed those who smiled genuinely in their baseball pictures lived an average of five years longer than players who didn't smile.

Maybe your new year's resolution would be to overcome your fear of the dentist. The initial step of contacting the practice can sometimes be the most challenging part when dealing with a dental phobia. Just talking about it can help reduce anxiety and make the treatment run more smoothly for you.

And wait for it – dental visits can actually make you feel better. Americans who visited their dentist regularly were found to be 22 per cent more likely to report their overall well-being as good or better, compared to those who don't visit the dentist.

Perhaps you realise that your diet could be improved not only for your health but also for the benefit of your teeth. Eating nutrient-rich non-processed food benefits your physique, mood and grin. Maintaining a healthy diet is easier than you think – it just takes a bit of planning and commitment.

Try taking an extra five minutes each night to plan the next day's meals, drinks and lunch boxes. Also when you are in the supermarket and reaching for a high-sugar or hidden-sugar food, try pausing and selecting a tooth-healthier option. If it's not put in your trolley it doesn't get into the cupboard or your body. Tell your friends and family about your new direction to help make the resolution stick.

Seeing the worst in every situation simply stresses you out and causes you to react negatively. So remain positive: if you believe good things are going to happen and you can achieve your resolution, you are much more likely to have success. Good Luck for 2017.

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