Our busy lives can make it difficult to put our health first. Luckily, the simplest changes often have the biggest impact. When you start small, introduce healthy changes one at a time, and focus on being consistent, it gets easier to turn those small changes into lifelong habits. Instead of a chore, they become second nature!
Here are a few simple ways that your whole family can improve your health, along with some helpful strategies to make the process more fun.
Eat breakfast every morning
There are so many benefits to eating a healthy breakfast daily. It helps keep your blood sugar steadier through the whole day and can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If that weren’t enough, the American Heart Association reported that people who eat breakfast have lower rates of heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
A nutritious breakfast can also help us avoid snacking later in the day. Constant snacking is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth, so eat up at breakfast and brush your teeth before heading out for the day.
You might even decide to make breakfast a family affair. Nightly dinners together can be difficult to organize. Long work days, homework, after-school activities, and other commitments take up time and energy and cause our schedules to clash. A quick but healthy breakfast is often a great way to start off the day right and also get some precious family time.
Eat a healthy diet for your teeth (and whole body)
The good news is that foods that are good for your oral health are typically good for your overall health too.
Avoid foods that are starchy, sticky, highly acidic, and/or filled with sugar. So leave that white bread in the grocery aisle and go for whole wheat instead. It may take a while to get used to the taste if you normally eat white bread, but it’s worth sticking with it. Kids who grow up eating whole wheat often actually prefer it to white bread, even as they get older and try new foods.
Vegetables, apples, berries, yogurt, milk, and fish are other great breakfast choices. In the past, we’ve written in depth about the best and worst foods for your teeth. We even included some meal suggestions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So take a look at that post if you’re looking for food inspiration!
Drink plenty of water
The benefits of drinking enough water every day are too numerous to list! Nearly every part of your body needs water in order to function optimally, including your teeth. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how much to consume, but most healthy people can keep themselves hydrated by drinking plenty of water whenever they’re thirsty.
In fact, if your water is fluoridated, drinking water actually strengthens your teeth and prevents tooth decay. In Mississippi, just over 60 percent of the population on public water receives fluoridated water. But even if yours isn’t fluoridated, drinking plenty of water will…
- Help rinse away food residue that cavity-causing bacteria like to snack on
- Help your body produce saliva (your own natural defense against tooth decay)
Just keep in mind that, no matter how much water you drink, you still need to brush and floss!
Get the whole family involved
One of the best ways to make new healthy habits stick is to get everyone involved. Make it something you do together. Here are some ideas:
- Include everyone in meal planning so you can incorporate healthy foods that people enjoy eating.
- If you have kids, let them have some input and help prepare a meal or two per week.
- Plan outings that involve doing physical activity together, even if it’s as simple as taking the dog for a walk or playing basketball at the park on weekends.
- Park the car farther away when you go out.
- Set up a small workout or stretching station near the TV so you can exercise while you watch your favorite show.
- Clean the house together. Cleaning burns calories and keeps your home fresh and healthy.
- Set family goals and write them down. If you don’t always achieve them, don’t judge yourself, and definitely don’t give up!
- Be a role model. Spending time together means your family will see you making healthy decisions.
Practice good dental care
Good dental hygiene keeps your teeth healthy and your breath fresh. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can also help prevent heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other issues. A basic routine starts with:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing at least once daily
- Visiting the dentist twice a year for your regular cleaning and exam
Good dental health goes beyond your physical well-being too. Cosmetic issues — like stained, chipped, or crooked teeth — can really hurt a person’s self-esteem. Improving the appearance of your smile can make all the difference for your mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being.
If you or anyone in your family is unhappy with their teeth, talk to a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry. You might be amazed how simple it is to restore your beautiful, healthy, and radiant smile.
Visit your family doctor and dentist
Many people only see the doctor or dentist when a health problem comes up, but regular checkups are a great investment in your family’s health.
These appointments are your chance to ask all your questions, get your concerns addressed, and get ahead of any potential future health issues you might be at risk for. For example, at your dental exam, we do a lot of important preventative measures in addition to cleaning. These include:
- X-rays and a non-invasive oral cancer screening
- Comprehensive inspection of your whole mouth, including teeth and gums
- Gum disease evaluation
- Time to discuss your questions and concerns
- A custom treatment plan
How can we help?
Do you have questions about how you and your family can take care of your teeth? Has it been a while since your last cleaning? Does someone in your family want to improve the appearance of their smile? Our whole team at The Winning Smile Dental Group is here to help! Just let us know what you need. Schedule an appointment and we’ll talk about you and your family’s health.
Dr. Lewis is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. She’s a member of the American Dental Association, the Mississippi Dental Association, the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Lewis is known for providing high-quality, comfortable care, while giving you a smile you’ll be proud to share with the world!