Dr. Joe Kravitz Blog. 2012 New Year's Resolutions.2012, a New Year. A New You! Here are five resolutions to make your smile as vibrant and healthy as ever:

1. Brighter smile.

Stains from food and drinks are responsible for making your teeth darker – brown, blue, green orange and yellow. Rinse with water immediately after eating or drinking darker food and drink for a brighter smile. For more permanent stains, see your dentist to inquire about tooth whitening procedures.

Here’s an ABC News article on whitening from a few years ago where I discussed “bleachorexics” and the implications of tooth whitening.

2. Habits.

Develop new habits for 18 consecutive days. Remember to set up for life and for dental health. Be focused with an oral health plan such as tooth brush, toothpaste, mouth rinse, and water. If you need to learn more, check out my book, Dirty Mouth or see your dentist.

3. Healthy Mouth.

Be resolved to understand that the mouth IS connected to the rest of the body. A healthier mouth can lead to a healthier body as a whole. Understand this key distinction. A recent study linked oral health with the condition of your heart. Share it with your friends. Share it with your family. Share it with your co-workers or classmates. Be a lighthouse for health!

4. 7-Minute Window.

Realize that it only takes 7 minutes for dental disease to start. Understand the nature of the 7-minute window and the impact it has on your health. You may begin to feel better and have more energy overall. And learn how to properly clean your entire mouth, not just your teeth.

5. Visit your dentist regularly.

If there any changes in your mouth that last longer than 3 days, call to make an appointment to visit with your dentist. Changes in tooth position, gum color, swelling around the mouth or neck, tooth pain, gum tissue (gingival) pain, tooth color changes, any dental work (such as crowns, inlays, onlays, ceramic veneers, bridges, dentures, or dental implants) or bite changes – can all lead to other long-term mouth problems. Also it’s important to visit with your dentist to have your teeth cleaned regularly with an oral exam – to detect health or disease and treat as quickly as practical.

Reach out if you have any questions. Here’s to a great new year ahead in 2012!