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When we think about healthy New Year’s Resolutions, most often the goal becomes focused on eating different, hitting the treadmill, or smoking the last cigarette. The funny thing is, we don’t make goals like, Avoid cardiovascular disease this year, or, Reduce my risk of diabetes or lung cancer. Our goals are almost always based on something aesthetic. If I eat healthier, I will lose weight and look better at the family reunion this summer. Granted, a goal like that is S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely), but what is the real benefit of that resolution? How does your New Year’s Resolution affect your body on the inside?

Nearly half of Americans have some form of periodontitis, according to a study by the Center for Disease Control. That was over 64.7 million people in 2010! What does that mean? Periodontal disease is caused by excessive plaque and bacteria build-up on your teeth, which inflames the gums. This is generally referred to as gingivitis. If gingivitis is not treated properly, it can lead to periodontal disease, which can result in bone loss around the tooth as the gums pull away and form pockets. These pockets allow bacteria to grow below the gumline and leach toxins into the soft tissue. (WebMD.com)

What does this have to do with that healthy New Year’s resolution? Imagine all the tiny bacteria microorganisms exuding toxins into soft gum tissue, where there is a direct line to your bloodstream. Once they enter this highway system, the toxins that started in your mouth have access to all parts of the body. In fact, numerous studies have shown that periodontal disease is a risk factor for heart and lung disease, diabetes, oral cancer, and even premature or low-birth weight babies, as reported by the ADHA.

Luckily for all of us, preventing the onset of periodontal disease and treating gingivitis is relatively easy. The first step is practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis. That’s right, brush and floss those pearly whites every day! The second step is a quick one, just pick up the phone and call your dentist. If you don’t have a dentist, try one of ours at a Smiles Dental location nearest you!

The moral of this story is that if you want to make and keep your New Year’s resolutions to live life healthier, you have to start with the inside. Your mouth is the window to the rest of your body. This means to be healthy, you have to start at the top. Turn your focus from what you are putting into your mouth to what is going on inside of it. When you clean up from the inside out, there is a less of a mess to catch the second time around. Set a New Year’s Resolution that leads to better health within and your results will astound you. So visit your dentist, go to the doctor, and get the resources you need to truly begin living a healthy lifestyle.