Interested in building good dental habits? Let’s start with a look at the definition of “habit” which is basically a regular practice that is hard to give up. Imagine the health of your teeth and gums if you were able to move from occasional brushing and flossing to regimented and repeated oral care. That’s just one of the habits you will want to work on.
Before we get into turning actions into lifestyle changes, let’s review a few of the other oral hygiene goals. We will define these more in a future blog.
- Drink fluoridated water and use a fluoride toothpaste
- Avoid tobacco
- Limit alcohol
- Eat wisely
- Visit the dentist regularly
So, these all sound like pretty good ideas. Some can be harder than others … quitting smoking for example. Some are daily habits. Others are just once or twice a year (like visiting the dentist).
What we suggest is taking these goals one or two at a time. Making a conscious decision to make them a part of your life and deciding what steps to take to turn steady practices into ones that would be difficult to break.
Maybe start with the easy ones, and if you have to – use your mobile phone or electronic calendar to set reminders or prompts. “Did you brush your teeth?” “Find a dentist” “Make a dental appointment today” Our lives have so many distractions and prompts, why not include a few of your own but with positive results.
As with any habit or goal, weight loss, exercising regularly … we are human and tend to stray from the plan. Missed brushing your teeth one night? Don’t punish yourself too much, but don’t give up either. Decide what caused the problem – fell asleep on the couch before brushing and flossing? Maybe pay attention to your body next time and get up and brush when you notice yourself first dozing off.
Challenge yourself and your loved ones to keep your smiles. Good luck on your dental health habit journey.