It’s the new year – a time for resolutions, fresh beginnings and saying “goodbye” to the bad habits of yesteryear. As the countdown starts, don’t drop the ball on your oral health. This year, resolve to do good by your mouth by ramping up your oral health habits and banishing bad behaviors once and for all!
A few tips and tricks will help your good intentions become good habits.
Resolution: Brush longer – for a full 2-3 minutes, as dentists recommend.
Bad Habit Buster: Set an egg timer for 2-3 minutes, or brush along to a song to keep your brushing in sync.
Resolution: Brush more often – after meals and before bed.
Bad Habit Buster: Leave yourself notes on the alarm clock, refrigerator or dishwasher door, bathroom mirror or in your lunch box. Post a tracking-sheet in the bathroom to check off when you brush. Turn your partner in crime into your biggest cheerleader by making a pact with your significant other, family member or roommate.
Resolution: Snack smarter – less often and on healthier foods.
Bad Habit Buster: Make healthy foods accessible. Buy fruits and vegetables and divide them into single serving “grab and go” containers. Add “no junk food” to your grocery list, to curb impulse buys. Leave resolution reminder notes on the refrigerator and pantry doors.
Resolution: Say no to soda – cut back or cut it out.
Bad Habit Buster: Pass the thirst test – make yourself drink a full glass of water before reaching for a soda. Find a replacement drink with low or no sugar: try milk, flavored water or fruit juice drinks. If you’re a chronic soda guzzler, wean yourself away by lowering limits every day.
Resolution: End nail biting.
Bad Habit Buster: Keep nails trimmed short, so they’re too small to chew. For women, get a manicure as a reminder. The bright polish – and the price tag – can help keep your teeth and your nails out of harms way. Use a polish or hand lotion flavored with a bitter taste to deter biting.
Resolution: Keep oral health care current – replace toothbrushes and visit the dentist regularly.
Bad Habit Buster: Start the year with a new toothbrush and a dental visit. Use a permanent marker to write a 3-month expiration date on the handle of the toothbrush. Schedule a follow-up dental appointment and put it on the calendar. Set reminders for both on your cell phone or computer’s calendar.