Start your journey towards becoming a healthier and happier you.

Most adult Americans want to improve their overall health, usually by losing weight, starting a diet, or hitting the gym more regularly. But these aren’t the only ways you can bring positive changes to your physical and mental well-being.

Here are 5 ideas for improving your overall health starting today.

1. Preventive health appointments are important—schedule your annual and biannual appointments all at once so you don’t forget.

An important part of improving your health revolves around preventive care. Preventive health appointments give you peace of mind about your health, but they also give your healthcare professionals a chance to catch any small issues before they become big problems.

Take a moment to sit down, make a few calls, and get your preventive health appointments booked for the year all in one go. The three standard appointments to make include:

  • An annual physical with your general doctor.
  • Bi-annual cleaning and exam with your dentist.
  • An eye test with your optometrist.

Your recommended schedule for preventive healthcare appointments may be different, so it’s a good idea to touch base with your health professionals. For example, most women should also see their gynecologist annually or, if you’re at risk for developing skin cancer, your doctor may suggest an annual visit to a dermatologist for a screening.

2. Investing in cosmetic dentistry can not only boost your smile confidence but also improve your overall oral health.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting cosmetic surgery, you just might want to consider going forward with it from an oral health perspective. Cosmetic dentistry has long been labeled as a luxury, but in reality, it can benefit the health of your smile as much as how your smile looks.

The appearance of your smile plays a big role in your life, and many popular cosmetic dentistry procedures also make it easier for you to maintain a healthy smile. For example, let’s take two popular types of cosmetic care: Invisalign and veneers. Both options result in a straight smile and proper bite alignment.

But aside from being aesthetically beautiful, these treatments also eliminate odd gaps in your teeth. Improper spacing between crooked teeth can trap food debris and lead to plaque build-up. Straight teeth are easier to properly brush and floss, thereby allowing you to keep your pearly whites clean and healthy.

3. Practicing regular relaxation sessions to relieve stress does as much for improving your mental health as your physical health.

Did you know that chronic stress is not only mentally exhausting, but it can also affect your physical health?

Constant stress without any outlet leads to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and even gum disease. Americans lead pretty stressful lives and stats show the average level of stress has risen in the last decade. Although it isn’t always possible to avoid stressful situations, you can practice regular decompression sessions to avoid the health issues that come with chronic stress.

Taking even 10 to 20 minutes a day to relax by meditating, listening to music, cuddling with a pet, or taking a bath can greatly reduce your stress level. Practicing breathing exercises can also help you when you’re actively experiencing stress, such as when you’re rushing to meet a deadline at work.

4. Getting an extra hour of restful sleep every night reduces your risks of disease and heightens brain function.

When it comes to improving your health, usually you focus on active changes like exercising more. However, it turns out that paying attention to your sleep patterns and getting even an extra hour of sleep is equally important.

Inadequate sleep is linked to a number of health issues, both mental and physical. Sleep deficiency can make you irritable, ruin your focus and productivity at work, and increase your chances of an accident. In terms of physical health, not getting enough sleep has a heavy correlation to the development of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Practicing a bedtime routine is a great way of making restful sleep a habit. Turning off screens a half hour before you’d like to fall asleep is really beneficial and don’t forget to brush your teeth before you get in bed.

5. Rather than doing 180° with your current diet, make small changes that stick by substituting in healthier choices.

Diets usually fail simply because making any type of significant lifestyle change is really difficult for the average person. Eating a healthy diet is important, but rather than trying to adopt a completely new diet, consider starting by making substitutions in your normal diet first.

Here are a few substitution ideas:

  • If you love having toast or a bagel for breakfast, switch to whole-grain.
  • Rather than grabbing a soda to drink with your meal, have a glass of water instead.
  • Use plain, low-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Swap out iceberg lettuce in your salads for more nutritionally dense Romaine and baby green mixes.

Making small changes like these add up to healthier new eating habits with time.

Even if you plan to eventually switch to a completely different diet, perhaps for health reasons or to get rid of those last 10 lbs, starting off in steps with substitutions greatly increases your chance of long-term success.

Take your first step by booking a visit with Dr. Tyler at Duvall Dental Center.

Whether you need treatment for gum disease, are curious about cosmetic dentistry, or you’re simply overdue for a cleaning, Duvall Dental Center is ready to help. We offer a full menu of services including, general and preventive care, cosmetic dentistry, and oral surgery.

When you’re ready to book a visit with Dr. Tyler, you can either call our office or fill out our online appointment request form.