If you’ve read any of our past blog posts, you know we regularly stress the importance of good oral health care at home. Developing good daily habits of brushing, flossing, and using a quality mouthwash are essential if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy for the duration of your life. Lifetime Family Dental, offering dental services in Gilbert AZ, would like to share some suggestions for those who may find it a challenge to stick with a daily oral care routine.
What’s Our Recommended Daily Oral Care Routine?
- Brush your teeth twice daily
- Floss once daily
- Use a good quality mouthwash daily, one that contains fluoride and kills bacteria.
Why is Daily Oral Care So Important?
Working at the office and returning home to family and community commitments can make it tough to follow through with good dental habits. But as we’ve explained in another recent blog post, your mouth is a gateway to your overall health. Unhealthy teeth and gums can open the door to other diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and more. So developing good dental care habits isn’t just for keeping your teeth and gums healthy; it’s also for the sake of a healthier body.
Developing Good Habits
You may agree with us that oral care is a great idea, but you’ve found it hard to establish the habits that enable you to stick with a daily plan. Research varies on how long it takes to form a habit. Some data indicates a habit can be established in as little as 21 days. Other data claims it can take up to 66 days or longer, so you’ll need to give yourself time to build that new habit. Here are some ideas on how to turn your oral care into a daily habit that will become part of your regular routine:
1.) Know WHAT you want to do and WHEN and WHY you want to do it. Why do you want to change? Why is it important for you? Identifying the WHY is valuable in enabling you to follow through with your decision. Once you’ve figured out your motive, determine WHEN you want to build your new habit. Do you want to brush your teeth after breakfast and before bed? When do you want to floss? And when are you planning to use fluoride mouthwash? Understanding WHAT you want to change, WHY you want to do it, and WHEN you want to follow through is good strategy for approaching a new habit.
2.) Don’t add more than one new habit at a time. If you’re trying to develop a new you by starting up a new exercise regime while also developing a good dental routine and adding more veggies into your diet, chances are you won’t stick with any of your new-you choices. Choose to develop ONE new habit at a time and increase your success rate exponentially.
3.) Be accountable to others. Letting others know about your plan to build a new habit is a good idea. You may not want to broadcast it on social media, but inviting your spouse or roommate to keep you accountable can help you succeed. Their gentle reminders can help you stay the course in carrying out a habit on a daily basis.
4.) If you fail, don’t stop. Mistakes can be part of the learning process. Let’s say your habit for the present time is to develop your dental care routine. But soon after you’ve begun, you forget about flossing until after you’re already in bed, and you’re just too tired to get up and floss your teeth. Don’t berate yourself the next morning. Learn from your failure and lean into the habit. If something needs to be changed that isn’t working well, figure out why, and adjust. For example, maybe it’s a timing issue. You may just need to floss earlier in the evening, before you’re too tired to make the effort. Use your failure to move you toward success.
5.) Encourage yourself. You’ve been faithful to implement your new dental routine for one whole week. That’s a reason to celebrate! Reward yourself with a new, sparkly toothbrush, or set aside some money for that new electric toothbrush you’ve thought about buying. Or, make plans to get your teeth whitened at our office as part of your reward. Rewards make building a new habit enjoyable, and spur you on while you’re in the middle of the process.
Any habit takes time to establish. We celebrate your decision to build new dental care habits into your life. And remember to schedule your biannual cleanings at our office as part of your dental hygiene. Our Lifetime Family dental services in Gilbert AZ, are for your benefit. We want your teeth and gums to serve you well throughout the rest of your life. For more information about caring for your teeth and gums, check out the rest of our website.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/19/2018) digicla (Flickr)