Building a Better Oral Health Routine

Many of us make routines to make our life more organized and easy. However, some of these routines or short cuts are not good for us. Since the brain likes to take the easy route, we end up missing doing the things that we should be doing like brushing the teeth twice a day, brushing for at least 2 minutes, flossing our teeth, drinking too much sugary drinks, etc. We know that we should be doing these things, but we end up hiding under the excuse of having no time or falling prey of bad habits. As far as oral health is concerned, there are many things that you can do to minimize the risk of getting your teeth affected. So today we are going to discuss some tips and tricks to help you build an effective oral health routine.

According to neuroscientific research, a habit comprises of three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. The cue prompts you to do an activity. The routine is what you do. The reward is why you do it!

For example, imagine that this is your daily routine:

you feel sleepy (cue) > you put on your pajama (routine) > you have more sleep time (reward)

According to this routine, you have missed your evening brushing session. The idea is to accommodate this action in your daily routine by changing the precursors, not the reward. There are numerous ways to create a new pattern—you can review your evening routine and accordingly make the necessary change that will work for you.

For instance, you could have your dinner 10 minutes earlier or shorten your evening TV time. The key is to find a way to incorporate the new routine in to your lifestyle. Once, you have figured out how to do it, your new routine will become:

you feel sleepy (cue) > you brush/floss your teeth (routine) > you have more sleep time (reward)

If you have a hard time keeping your new year resolutions, then this will be no different. Most people give up in within a period of two weeks while it takes a minimum of 2 months for a routine to form a habit. The secret to achieving this is to stick to it!

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Here are a few tips that will help you stick to your new habit:

  • More rewards: Reward yourself for milestone achievements. Rewards can be of any form and you can scale your reward as you cross 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, and so on. Once you reach 2 months, you can reward yourself with a big treat!
  • Record your progress: Put a chart in front of the bathroom mirror or any other prominent place and cross off the days that you have completed. This will act as a good visual cue and allows you to track your rewards.
  • Set an alarm: Set a recurring alarm on your watch or phone to indicate that it’s time to brush your teeth. Else, you can ask one of your friends or family member to remind you!
  • Contemplate for self motivation: one of the best way that will help you achieve your goal is to think about the oral health benefits of brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.

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