In the midst of the hustle-bustle of the holiday season, we have rolled right into 2018 and all that it will bring.
Maybe you have a big vacation planned? Or perhaps there will be a milestone in your family — like a new baby or a big birthday to celebrate? And, of course, the question we ask ourselves each and every year: Can I be healthier in the new year? To answer the last question: “Yes, you can!”
Here in our Midlothian office, we believe in comprehensive and proactive dental care that will protect your smile as well as your quality of life. Our #1 goal is your total dental health. Because your overall health directly affects your dental health, and because I also have a real passion for health and fitness, I wanted to share some quick tips for you to meet your goals to get healthier in 2018.
1. Hand washing
The top way to stay healthier in 2018 is simple: Wash your hands! Especially during cold and flu season, frequent hand washing will get rid of most germs that can make you sick. Plus, it will prevent germs from being transferred to other surfaces — and people. For the best results, use soap and warm water, and dry with a clean towel.
Exercise at every age is good for your heart, brain, mood, and bones — including your mouth and teeth. Losing weight won’t just help your confidence, it helps improve the total health of your mind and body. So get moving! You don’t have to go all-in with exercise. If you’re not regularly exercising, start with small changes like taking the stairs or choosing a parking spot farther from the door. Walking is also a terrific entry to exercise. If you are already exercising, take it up a notch with extra cardio, adding something new to your routine, or boosting your strength training. Remember: Before starting any exercise, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.
3. Heart health
Keep your heart healthy! Reducing your risk for heart disease starts with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Eating fiber-rich foods will also help you lower your triglyceride level and reduce plaque in your arteries, reducing your overall risk for heart disease. So stock up on beans, nuts, fruits like raspberries and pears, high-fiber whole grains like oatmeal, and veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. By the way, your teeth love crunchy fruits and veggies, too!
Most adults need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Teens need 8 to 10, and school-aged kids need 9 to 11. Are you and your family getting enough? I know a busy lifestyle can make it tough, but make sleep a priority and you’ll be happier and healthier. Sleep impacts everything from mood and concentration to your blood pressure and your heart. Go to bed earlier, keep your bedroom cool, and click off electronics — including your phone and TV — to get a better, more restful sleep. If you have concerns about nighttime clenching or grinding that are disturbing your sleep, please come see me for help.
Eat your superfoods! These foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals plus antioxidants that protect our bodies against cell damage and disease. Blueberries are a superfood rock star packed with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant disease-fighters. Of course, blueberries also stain your teeth — so be sure to rinse with water after eating if you can’t brush right away. Brussels sprouts, apples, kale, spinach, and salmon are other superfoods that are kinder to your teeth.
Say calci-yum! We all know calcium is important for healthy bones — and teeth, too. Though milk is a fantastic source of calcium, it’s not the only one that gets an A+ as a calcium source. A cup of yogurt has at least as much calcium as an 8-ounce cup of milk, and a 1-ounce piece of swiss cheese rates close behind. Pack even more calcium into soups and sides with dark leafy greens like kale and collards.
Be sure to get all regular health screenings as recommended for your age, gender, and health risk factors, so you can be as proactive as possible in managing your health. This includes things like mammograms and colonoscopies, plus well-visits with your primary care physician. And don’t forget your teeth! Your twice-a-year routine hygiene visit and dental check-up are critical to maintaining a strong, healthy mouth and teeth.
I hope this list gets you started thinking about all the ways you can be healthier in 2018. You may notice I didn’t include brushing and flossing on this list — that’s because I’m hopeful you’re already a superstar in that department!
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2018 for you and your family!