A new year is on the horizon. What will you do to keep up your oral health care in 2014? If you’d like to include “perfect teeth” on your list of New Year’s resolutions, read on for a must-do checklist:
1. Stay Covered. Many individuals and families will lose existing health insurance coverage on January 1, 2014 due to stricter Affordable Care Act requirements. Have you checked on or updated your insurance plan yet? Don’t forget that Covered California’s open enrollment with premium assistance for qualifying families runs through March 31, 2014. Dental plans for children are available. 2. Keep Your 6-Month Appointments. The most basic dental plans cover preventative care, and this includes your 6-month check-up! It’s easy to miss this appointment because half a year comes and goes surprisingly quickly. If you don’t remember the last time your child went in for a cleaning, check your calendar or call your pediatric dental office. You might be surprised at how long it’s been! 3. Brush Twice a Day. This point is oft-repeated, but can’t be emphasized enough. Brushing regularly does wonders to prevent plaque build-up and tooth decay. If you’re shooting for “zero cavities” at your child’s next check-up, regular brushing is a must. 4. Choose Healthy Snacks. Feed hungry kids delicious, healthy snacks like yogurt with berries, cottage cheese with peaches, crunchy veggies with peanut butter for dipping, and sliced cheese and apple platters. Their bodies will thank you, and their teeth will not suffer the eroding effects of too much sugar from candy and other nutrient-deficient snacks. 5. Reduce or Eliminate Soda. The majority of U.S. teens drink it every day, and the result is a rise in the country’s obesity levels and an epidemic of tooth decay in young kids. Try replacing soda with water, iced tea, or chocolate milk. 6. Smile! Studies show that the hidden benefits of smiling include everything from higher achievement and stress relief to a healthier immune system and greater ease making friends. It’s easier to do when you care for and take pride in your teeth!