Welcome to the new year. If you’re like many Americans, you’re looking to make this the best year ever with a series of resolutions that help you get healthier, stay healthier, and feel better.

The only problem is that some of these common resolutions can come with negative side effects for your oral health. However, they don’t have to. Here are some of the perils to steer clear of to make sure that your mouth stays healthy as the rest of you experiences improvement.

Your New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Have to Hurt Oral Health

Dieting Dangers

One of the most common–and praiseworthy–resolutions is to lose weight in the new year. Overall, this is likely to be good for your oral health, as obesity is associated with higher risk of gum disease and higher risk of tooth loss. However, there are some diets that can endanger your teeth.

Perhaps the worst of these is the lemonade cleanse. Lemonade is OK as an occasional drink, but it’s high in acid, even more acidic than coke. If you’re consuming it in high quantities and without much else to help your mouth recover from the acidity, you can seriously damage your teeth with erosion. This erosion can then increase your need for restorative dentistry.

Meal replacement shakes have also been criticized for their high sugar levels, which can lead to an increased risk of cavities.

Always be skeptical of new diet foods and diet trends. Many prepackaged foods and recipes claim to be healthy but can be high in sugar and acids. You want to make sure you’re not overwhelming your mouth with these foods.

Exercise Leads to Erosion

Adding more exercise to your daily routine is good for your health. And because it can support weight loss, it can be good for your oral health. But there are also some cautions that have to be taken seriously to help you avoid endangering your oral health.

But when people are exercising, they often supplement their energy with special high-performance snacks. These snacks are full of sugar and they can encourage tooth decay. And the situation gets worse because you’re eating these snacks when you’re dehydrated from exertion. With low saliva levels, there’s little to help control oral bacteria or to neutralize the acid these bacteria produce.

Drinking sports drinks also makes the situation worse. That’s because these drinks are also high in sugar–and acid. That makes your mouth even more acidic and feeding oral bacteria even more–speeding erosion and decay.

Add more water to your gym routine and save high-performance snacks for when you might really need them, like during a marathon.

Straining Your Muscles, Stressing Your Teeth

When you’re trying to improve your health, you’re naturally going to be pushing yourself to your limits. However, this can put strain on your teeth. Your jaw is a vital structure for stabilizing your core and exerting your maximum strength. But if it’s not properly balanced, this role of stabilization and strength can put too much stress on your teeth. This can lead to cracking and wear.

This phenomenon is most common with weightlifting, but, truthfully, it can occur in any sport or activity where you’re trying to muster your full strength, especially over time.

If you notice that your jaw or teeth are sore after a workout, talk to a neuromuscular dentist about protecting your teeth. Hopefully before your teeth start cracking and need dental crowns.

Make Your Resolutions Better

Improving your diet and your exercise levels are good for you, and they can be good for your teeth. But taking a few simple steps can make them even better–reducing the risk of damaging your teeth while you’re improving your overall health.

To talk about getting the most out of your resolutions this year, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with a Columbia, SC dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.