Habits are hard to create and hard to break. Which means that they are very powerful. Most people have routines and habits that they follow every day. These can start when you get out of bed or when you are getting ready to go to sleep. They affect every aspect of life. Our brains automatically create shortcuts, allows us to do things without thinking about it all the time. The problem is that some of these shortcuts aren’t always good for us. We forget to do certain things, and say we don’t have time, or come up with some other excuse.
Oral health is something that everyone should have routine for. The problem is it is often too short, or infrequent, or maybe not at all. This could include drinking too much sugar or brushing to quickly, or not flossing. Here is how to create a good routine to keep your teeth healthy.
Scientists have found that habits are made from three parts. The cue, the routine, and the reward. The cue is basically what promotes or reminds you to perform an action. This could be an alarm going off, a time of day, or even another action. As an example of the entire process, let’s say that you want to sleep. Feeling sleepy is the cue, putting on your pajamas is the routine, and the reward is you will be able to sleep! It is a pretty simple idea.
How to do it?
There are many ways to change or create a pattern to make sure that you start doing it regularly. This could be starting to get ready earlier. Or ending your lunch early to give yourself time to brush your teeth. The key is to find a way to make the time to fit the new routine into your life. So in the example above, part of the routine should be brushing your teeth and you could add this to putting on your pajamas. Figure out how to make the time and then do it at the same time every day.
Keeping the Routine.
Most people will give up on their routines within a week or two. But most routines take two months to become a habit. You have to stick to the routine for a while until it becomes part of your daily habits. Here are some of our tips to create routines that will stick!
- Add more rewards. This could be one reward a week, or one every other week. You should use an actual physical reward. This will help you to keep at it and not give up before it becomes a habit. Make it a big reward when you hit 2 months. At that point, you shouldn’t need to reward yourself anymore. After that, you’ll do the routine without evening having to try.
- Chart out your progress. You can put this wherever you will see it, maybe on the fridge or on your bedside table. Check off every day that you do the routine. This will help to keep you on track and see your progress.
- Set alarms for whatever routines you are trying to add to your lifestyle. This is an easy way to remind yourself to perform the routine. If you had to take a pill three times a day or else you would die, you’d probably remember to do it. It isn’t impossible to remember, we just don’t prioritize it. An alarm can help compensate for this lack of motivation.
- Ask someone else you help you if you just aren’t doing it on your own. Having the support of a family member, spouse, or friend, is a huge help.
- Coach yourself each day. This basically is taking the time to think about how you are doing in your routines and how it is helping you. Take a look at yourself if there is anything you need to adjust or change.
Hopefully, this helps you do a better job with your oral health. But it can also be applied to other areas of your life. We would recommend brushing your teeth at least twice per day and flossing as well.