It is the perfect time to start resolutions for healthier habits. Whether it's improving toothbrushing habits or completing dental treatment, the benefits of setting goals can be rewarding and motivating:

Brush two times a day and floss every night!

Tooth decay is the most chronic disease that children face, and it is largely preventable. The best way to keep your kids cavity-free is by having them practice a healthy oral care routine every day. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists advises children to brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time, and to floss once per day. By doing so, your children will keep their mouths clean and help them prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Eat less sugar

The average American consumes 82 grams of sugar every day, yet the recommended daily serving for children should be under 25 grams per day. Sugar is unhealthy on just about every level, but it can also significantly damage teeth. Bad bacteria in the mouth get energy from sugar and produces acid as a byproduct. That acid erodes enamel, which can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.

A good way to cut down on sugar is by drinking more water, and less sodas and fruit drinks, both of which are notoriously high in sugar content. If they do drink these beverages, drinking water afterwards can improve their oral health by reducing sugars left in the mouth and lessening teeth stains. If you chew gum, make sure that it is sweetened with Xylitol – a sugar substitute which can actually help clean teeth as you chew!

Good nutrition is important for your child's whole body—even their smile. It enhances the immune system, reducing the risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Not to mention, crunchy raw fruits and vegetables can naturally remove plaque from the teeth, keeping their smile gorgeous and smelling great all at the same time.

Use a Mouthguard

Did you know that your child is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when they aren't wearing a mouth guard? Dental injuries account for nearly 20% of all sports injuries so if your child plays sports, then get them a mouth guard. You can help protect their teeth enhance their sports performance and confidence.

DON'T let your child chew their nails (or anything that isn't food)

New Year's resolutions can include breaking bad habits and starting good ones. One of the toughest habits to break, and one that is sneakily harmful to teeth, is biting nails.

The bacteria under nails can cause infections in their mouths or chip enamel and knock teeth out of alignment. The same goes for crunching ice or chewing on pens and pencils. Keep an eye out on these habits and try to help your child stop them. Just remember to be patient with them during the process.

DON'T ignore them grinding their teeth

Regardless of who it is in your family, grinding teeth at night is never something that should be overlooked or forgotten. While there are a number of causes for the noc-turnal friction, from stress to missing teeth, the variety of symptoms are all the rea-sons you need to take care of it.

From headaches and tooth pain to cracks in teeth, the damage from teeth grinding can quickly become a costly problem. Talk to us as soon as possible if you notice anyone in your family dealing with this bedtime trouble.

Visit your Dentist twice a year

Children should see their dentist twice every year for dental checkups. Your child's dentist and dental hygienist will work together to diagnose any issues they may be having.

Cleaning appointments at Smile Starters include yearly x-rays to check for any cavities, and a tooth polishing after all plaque has been removed.

Schedule your appointments early and knock this resolution out!