5th August 2016
Developing the Ideal Dental Health Routine
Our brains are wired to like routine. Whether it’s the order in which you put clothes on in the morning, the route you take while driving on your way to work, or what you do to wind down before bedtime, we all have certain routines that we have created in our minds to get things done efficiently, or in a way that makes us comfortable. However, these routines are sometimes not the best thing for us, as they often promote “shortcuts” that favour efficiency over getting things done right. While this is okay in some cases, like taking the path with the shortest commute time on your way to work, it’s definitely not the best for your oral health. Shortcuts that we often have that will show on our teeth in the long run include skipping flossing so we can get out the door faster, not brushing our teeth for the full recommended two minutes, and more.
Fortunately, however, it is possible to re-train your brain to develop a new dental routine. If your current routine involves brushing at irregular times and rarely finding a moment to floss, it is possible to change that and develop a brand new routine that will maximise benefits for your teeth and dental health overall. Here’s what you need to know when trying to follow a dental routine of brushing twice daily, for two entire minutes, and flossing regularly:
- Routines are created by rewards: For example, if you have a routine or habit of skipping brushing your teeth before bed, the reason for this is probably because you want to go to sleep sooner. Therefore, the reward for not brushing your teeth before bed is more sleep. In order to change your routine, you have to keep the reward, but find a way to incorporate brushing your teeth into the mix. One way to do this is by limiting the time spent on other activities, such as eating dinner ten minutes early.
- It will take two months: It takes two months for a routine to become a natural habit. This means that, for the first two months of your dental routine, you will have to consciously make yourself stick to the plan before it becomes something your brain is automatically motivated to do.
- Reward yourself: As mentioned before, you will have to make a conscious effort to follow your routine for the first two months. The best way to make this happen is to offer yourself rewards for following it after reaching milestones: one week, two weeks, one month and two months.
- Set an alarm: It might be difficult to remember at first to make time to dedicate to your new dental routine. It’s a good idea to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to stop what you’re doing and brush and floss.