Jordan Haire

Whether I’m taking my new puppy for a walk or attending a fitness class, I like to stay active. Being able to get outside year-round is why I love living in the Lowcountry!

But I’ve caught myself being a bit over-indulgent this holiday season and I am ready to get back to a healthy routine as 2022 approaches.

If you’re committing to a healthier you in 2022, be sure to include your oral care in the plan; it has a huge impact on overall health. Bacteria that live in the mouth have a direct effect on your well-being. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on teeth and hardens. It causes gum disease, an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Researchers suspect that bacteria present in gum disease can travel throughout the body, triggering inflammation in heart vessels and infection in its valves.

Additionally, diabetes is associated with an increased prevalence and severity of periodontitis, or inflamed gums. Periodontitis can also lead to the gums shrinking and teeth loosening. Trust me, you definitely want to avoid these symptoms!

My first recommendation for your 2022 oral care plan is to establish yourself as a patient with a highly recommended dentist. Many people have moved to our area lately and finding a dentist is often low on the priority list. Don’t wait until something hurts to find a dentist!

My next recommendation would be to schedule a professional cleaning. Even if you brush and floss regularly at home, you just can’t clean beneath the gumline, where tarter and plaque can calcify on the tooth, like a professional dental hygienist can.

Hygienists use special equipment – picture power washers for your teeth – to remove buildup. Regular cleanings include X-rays that can spot things like cavities. And hygienists are not simply teeth cleaners! They identify issues before they get worse, which will save you time, expense, and a lot of pain in the future.

The following are a few more of my top tips for a healthy mouth in 2022:

• Change that toothbrush! If your current toothbrush was around for the 4th of July fireworks, it’s time to switch!

• Schedule your professional cleaning every six months, especially if you have not had a cleaning since the pandemic began. Dentists follow the highest protocols for a safe and clean environment.

• Invest in an electric toothbrush, which is more effective than a manual toothbrush.

• Rinse with water after enjoying sweet holiday treats to remove the sugar right away.

• Floss or use a Waterpik often; they are great for removing plaque.

• Stay hydrated; a dry mouth can lead to cavities.

Here’s to a very happy and healthy 2022!

Jordan Haire, DDS is a dentist in practice with ROC Dental Group in Bluffton.