Valparaiso (219) 531-8914
951 Southpoint Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46385
Chesterton (219) 926-5445
1830 South 11th Street
Chesterton, IN 46304

New Year’s Resolutions

Question: "Dr. Arnold, what can I do in 2008 to ensure that my teeth and gums are as healthy as possible?"

Answer: A great relationship with your dental team is essential so that they can provide the support that you need in 2008 and beyond. If you are already practicing healthy dental habits, encourage your family and friends to do the same. A new year’s resolution to improve your oral health will be well worth the effort.

What you need to do specifically depends entirely upon the current status of your oral health. Everyone’s situation is different, but I will outline a good plan that should be relevant to the majority of people. You should definitely consult with your dentist or find a good dental home if you don’t currently have one to address your particular needs.

Beginning the year with a comprehensive exam would be a great place to start. Completing the appropriate professional teeth cleaning can then help you to establish a healthy periodontal foundation. Practicing good oral hygiene at home will help to maintain the results attained by your dental team.

Good home care generally consists of thorough brushing twice per day and flossing at least once each day. Electric toothbrushes are often more effective than manual toothbrushes. Changing toothbrushes (or electric toothbrush heads) on a regular basis is also wise.

Completing any recommended dental treatment is essential in order to ensure healthy teeth and gums for 2008 and beyond. The longer you postpone necessary treatment, the more likely the existing condition is to develop into a more serious problem that can cause pain and the need for further, more expensive treatment.

Maintaining a healthy diet consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods and beverages is also important. Consumption of sugary and/or acidic beverages can cause a great deal of damage to teeth. Even diet pop can cause damage due to its highly acidic nature. Reducing other sugary foods is also important for many people.

Smoking is another habit that is very harmful to one’s oral health. If necessary, a smoking cessation program can be very beneficial to one’s periodontal and overall health. Grinding your teeth can also be very destructive. A bite guard can slow down the damage caused by this habit.

Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Chesterton and Valparaiso. He is also a clinical mentor with the Hornbrook Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics as the Fellowship Chairman. You may send questions to his office at: 1830 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304 or email them to: More information on this or many other dental topics can be found at