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Six tricks for a healthier smile in 2024

Weight loss. Dry January. “Clean” eating.

You’re likely familiar with these trendy health-conscious New Year’s resolutions. Although excellent wellness goals, prioritizing an oral health ritual in 2024 could revamp your full-body wellness throughout the new year, from a healthy smile to improved moods.

"The link between mental health and oral health is really powerful," said Sarah Chavarria, President of Delta Dental. Your mouth is the largest opening to the rest of your body, and even slight neglect of your oral health can negatively impact your other wellness goals.

Let yourself shine in 2024 by incorporating just one (or all!) of these six easy habits into your daily wellness routine from Delta Dental.

1. The “2-1-2 Rule”

Good oral health begins by incorporating the “2-1-2 Rule” into your oral wellness routine: brush twice a day, floss at least once daily and visit your dentist twice annually for dental cleanings. However, people experiencing certain hormone transitions, such as menopause or pregnancy, should have conversations with their dentist to see  if there is a need to have more professional cleanings annually to support their evolving bodies and hormonal shifts during this time.

2. Address that lingering health concern

If chronic headaches have become an increasingly regular occurrence, your body might be trying to signal more than a side effect of holiday stress.

Sleep Bruxism involves involuntary grinding or clenching of the jaw while asleep. It’s commonly linked to stress or anxiety, but it could also be a symptom of an underlying sleep disorder. Your jaw can clamp shut with up to 250 pounds of force, which overtime negatively impacts the entire body, including:

  • Lower sleep quality
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Gum disease or recession
  • Tooth decay, breakage, or loss
  • Consistent head, neck, or shoulder pain

Dentists can create a mouthguard that’s fitted to your exact bite, which will protect it from damage caused by tension and pressure in your jaw. Alternatively, over-the-counter mouthguards offer a more affordable option to protect your teeth and minimize future side effects from Sleep Bruxism.

3. Kick coffee for green tea

If your 2024 New Year’s resolutions include cutting back or curbing coffee entirely, your smile might thank you.

Green Tea offers an excellent caffeinated alternative to a daily Cup-of-Joe, as it’s packed with antioxidants and nutrients that promote healthy teeth and gums. Regularly drinking non-sweetened green tea reportedly defends the mouth against cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

4. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Even slight dehydration can have physical and mental consequences. Staying properly hydrated throughout the entire day promises enhanced oral health, as water offers a natural cleanser for the entire mouth, as it washes away food particles. This helps reduce Dry Mouth, which women experiencing menopausal symptoms are at  higher risk of developing.

An eight-ounce glass of water can help neutralize acids found in the mouth that cause tooth decay and bad breath. But any fluid-rich food or beverage can help reach your target daily water consumption while keeping your mouth fresh, such as fresh fruit or a cup of non-sweetened tea.

5. Clean up between meals

There’s no replacing a consistent oral wellness routine – see No.1 for one tried-and-true method – but it’s a good idea to remove food particles from your teeth between meals.

Freshen up with chewing gum made with Xylitol, a natural ingredient shown to limit plaque-building bacteria that stick to teeth after eating. Xylitol increases saliva production by up to ten times the mouth’s normal rate, which helps wash away odor-causing food particles stuck between your teeth.

6. Prioritize Vitamin D

This critical nutrient is essential for proper Calcium absorption in the gut, which in turn promotes strong bones – including a healthy smile!

Your body naturally produces Vitamin D while in direct sunlight, which is limited for many during the winter months. However, this fat-soluble nutrient is found in supplements and several whole foods, including:

  • Salmon
  • Canned tuna
  • Egg yolks
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Vitamin D-fortified beverages (orange juice, soy milk)


Tending to your oral health promises full-body benefits as your mouth is the starting line to your internal wellness. Incorporating any of the simple habits above into a consistent oral wellness routine will help promote a healthy smile and mind in 2024.