For many of us, New Year’s resolutions include taking better care of our health—well open up and say ahhh, because that means you need some oral health tips, too. Many will hit the gym, many will vow to follow healthier diets and stop smoking. But when you’re resolving to live a healthier lifestyle, don’t neglect your oral health.

A healthy mouth gives us the courage to smile without being shy about it. And smiles are the universal sign and currency of love—so we all need to keep those coming. To help you smile your brightest, we’ve listed all the ways you can dazzle in the New Year by following some basic oral health tips.


1. Stain Patrol
You know that blueberries can stain your teeth but, so do grape juice, coffee and tea. Of course smoking does the best job of turning your pearly whites yellow but we know you’ve resolved to quit that habit in the New Year. For a list of foods that stain teeth enamel and how to combat those stains, we’ve done all the research so read on.

Read Related: Say Cheese: 10 Non-Obvious Reasons Why You Should Smile More


2. Stress Mess
Stress has major effects on health even in your sleep. A stressful day can cause you to spend your night grinding your teeth together. The end result is wearing down of the teeth and joint issues which can cause headaches and jaw pain. Some medications can stain your teeth too so talk to your doctor about that possibility when they’re prescribed. Beyond your mouth, one of the best overall health tips we can give you is to find tools to manage your stress.


3. White Knight
If you are thinking about whitening your teeth, start with healthy teeth by seeing your dentist for a checkup. Discuss your overall health and if you might be pregnant before starting any teeth whitening procedure. Your dentist may suggest veneers or professional teeth whitening in office. Hint: if you use an over the counter whitening product, follow the directions. Using more product than recommended could actually harm your teeth.


4. Flawless Flossing
Most dentists and hygienists will tell you to brush less and floss more. Flossing removes what you’ve left behind after brushing, and you always leave something behind no matter how thoroughly you brush. If you’re not used to flossing, have your dental professional show you how to do it correctly. You’ll be happy you did as flossing eliminates a lot of tooth decay and plaque, which is what the hygienist scrapes from your teeth during cleaning.


5. Habit Control
Biting your nails makes your hands look bad but did you stop to think that it introduces bacteria into your mouth too? Smoking we know is bad for your overall health and can lead to mouth and tongue cancers. Going to bed without brushing gives all the little food particles a chance to decay teeth. Playing sports without mouth guards, well, you can imagine the harm that will do.  Get your bad habits under control.


6. The Curse of the Dragon
People are reluctant to tell you if your breath is bad. If you’ve been eating onions or garlic or other pungent foods, you can assume a bit of that is still on your breath. If mints or mouthwash don’t solve the problem, consider seeking medical advice. Bad breath can be an indicator of the meds you’re taking or underlying medical disorders.


7. Tongue Awareness
Keeping your tongue healthy is just as important as keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Bacteria build up on your tongue and can easily pass into your digestive system. A daily scraping of the tongue with a spoon or a tongue scraper can prevent a lot of oral problems and lead to a healthier mouth.