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Resolutions and Habits

In a few days, we’ll be wishing each other “Happy New Year!”! For most of us, the New Year signals a time to make resolutions for the months ahead.  We may decide to eat healthier or exercise more. How many of us think to include our dental health in our plans for the year? After all, healthy teeth are what allow us to chew that healthy food (as well as the rewards we give ourselves for reaching some of these goals!)


The health of your mouth is also linked to your overall health. Now, a healthy mouth will not magically solve all your medical problems, but it also won’t hurt them. You’ll also have the added benefit of being more likely to keep your own teeth and being less likely to have gum disease or dental cavities.  A pretty smile is an advantage in many areas of life.


If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, you will probably need to start your road to dental health there. Hard deposits on your teeth need to be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Hard buildup on your teeth causes your gums to be sore just like a hard pebble in your shoe can cause a sore foot. Dental cavities or infections also need to be addressed.


Once you have your mouth on the road to its best dental health, you can maintain it by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day to clean the areas where your toothbrush can’t reach, and seeing your dentist at regular intervals.


Of course, we all know that despite our best intentions, many resolutions are discarded within the first few weeks of the New Year. In fact, this very subject came up recently at a brunch meeting at which I first heard of a simple method taught by BJ Fogg, PhD for making something new a habit. It’s a very simple method with only 3 steps. I will share the basics here:


  • Step 1: Simplify what you want to do into very small steps. It might even be so small as to seem silly. For example: Moving the postcard from your dentist to a spot where you’ll see it everyday, Moving your floss container so it sits next to your toothbrush or toothpaste, or Committing to flossing one tooth a day.
  • Step 2: Decide after which step in your current routine, this step will fit. Putting it after an action that is part of your routine will make it easier to remember. For example, you might decide to Floss one tooth after your morning toothbrushing or to Preschedule your next dental check up visit while you’re at your dentist’s office so you don’t have to remember to call for an appointment.
  • Step 3: Focus on incorporating this tiny step into your routine each and every day. At first you will probably need reminders, but over time it will become easier.


You’re probably saying “How will committing to flossing one tooth make a difference?” Starting with a small commitment that you know you can keep increases your chances of success. Once you’ve successfully built this small piece into your routine, you can start the process over again with the next small step. Seeing yourself succeed at each of these smaller steps will spur you on to continue the process until you reach the desired result.


If you do not have a dentist to start you along this process, I invite you to call my

            office at 440-960-1940 or contact us through my website at www.drjrobb.com