The most important thing you can do for your dental health is to properly brush and floss your teeth each day.
Not everyone finds it so easy to brush and floss as often as they should though. We believe there’s always a way to make an improvement in your life and take on a new healthy habit.
In this post, we give you some tips that can help make brushing and flossing a habit in your life.
How to make brushing and flossing a habit
- Make it a part of your routine
- Attach brushing/flossing to existing habits
- Give yourself a reminder
- Keep floss in different places
- Create a reward for yourself
- Give yourself 21 days to succeed
Make it a part of your routine
In order to make your brushing and flossing a habit, you will need to work at making it something that is automatic. This is the hardest part of any new habit. You need to make it so normal that you no longer have to think about it, you just do it because it’s a habit. So how do you make it a habit?
Attach brushing/flossing to existing habits
The best way to accomplish making brushing and flossing a new habit is to attach it to existing habits and make it a part of your existing routine.
If you shower every day, then make it a point to add brushing to your routine when you get out of the shower. Or brush right before you leave for work every morning. Make an evening routine for brushing and flossing as well. It might be: change into sleepwear, wash your face and then brush your teeth before grabbing a book to read in bed.
The important thing is that brushing and flossing have a specific time in your routine. Just do the same routine each morning and night and brushing will become natural and easy.
Tips for Brushing Your Teeth
Give yourself a reminder
Try creating a new reminder that will alert you and remind you to brush or floss. Some people use a post-it note. It doesn’t even need to have anything written on it, but you’ll know what it means when you see it in the bathroom mirror.
Others try putting their toothbrush or box of floss out in a new visible spot in the bathroom. You could also set yourself alarms on your mobile phone. Setting up reminders can help you get in the habit of brushing and flossing at the same time each day.
The key to a new habit is changing it from something new to something routine. After a few weeks, you won’t need to set your alarm anymore, you’ll just do it automatically.
Related: Is gum disease reversible?
Keep floss in different places
Get yourself some extra packages of floss and keep them in places other than the bathroom. Maybe one roll in your glove compartment, one in your workout bag, and one in your bag or purse. When you’re starting out trying to get a new habit going, it might be helpful to have floss around in case you forget at home.
Create a reward for yourself
Sometimes a little bribery works in helping to get a new habit established. If you have a favorite TV program to watch every night after dinner, then let that become a reward for brushing. Don’t let yourself watch it until you’ve brushed and flossed. Another good thing is that this helps you establish a new habit that becomes automatic. You eat dinner, you brush and floss and then you watch TV. After a few weeks, it starts to become very normal and easy to do.
With some creativity, you can establish other rewards for yourself. The idea is just to find one that works. Maybe some time on Facebook becomes your reward for flossing. Maybe you give yourself a dessert after dinner only if you brushed or flossed the night before. You can put money in a jar to save for a present for yourself. If you’re brushing and flossing, you really will be saving yourself money on dental work, so maybe spend that money on yourself instead.
Related: Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Give yourself 21 days to succeed (at least)
It takes more than willpower to create a new habit. You need to do the new habit enough times that it becomes automatic, and not something you have to think about.
Popular psychology websites and advice columns routinely say it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. Research has shown that that is sometimes true. Sometimes it takes even longer.
It will take some commitment on your part no matter how long it takes. Just understand that flossing every day, or any other new years resolution is not going to happen just because you want it to. It’s going to take work to establish a new habit and routine.
Ready for your dental appointment in the Plano, Texas area?
Contact us today to set up your examination. Dr. Wilhite has over 30 years experience helping patients to keep their smiles healthy. He will be able to identify possible issues and recommend further treatments if needed.
We can also talk about affordable financing and dental insurance options to make sure you get the care you need.
Call us at (972) 964-3774
David Wilhite is a Dentist in Plano, Texas who has helped thousands of patients with a wide variety of dental health issues from general to cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign clear braces, TMJ treatment, dental implants and full mouth restorations.