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How Habit Formation Can Transform Your Teeth

By Caroline Jacobson on April 11, 2017 in Dental Health


Delta Dental of Iowa Blog: How Habit Formation Can Transform Your Teeth

30% of Americans don’t brush before bed and a third of Americans skip flossing all together! If you’re guilty of mouth misconduct, it’s not too late to reverse the cycle. Here are some scientific strategies to help you form healthy habits:

1. Create a cue.
A cue acts as a trigger that tells your brain to begin a routine. You can try using part of your bedtime routine as a cue. For example, washing your face can be the cue to brush and floss. The cue you create will begin to automatically trigger the action you want to form, and continued performance will eventually create a habit.

2. Realize the reward.
Starting a new habit works best when you get something out of it. You may begin to crave that squeaky clean feeling your teeth experience after your dental routine. This will motivate you to continue the frequency of your healthy habits.

3. Break bad habits.
While you’re starting healthy habits, take time to cut out the bad ones, like teeth grinding or nail biting.

In order to stop, you have to pay attention! Tracking behaviors over time will help you find themes. Keeping a journal to jot down what was happening when you began the behavior, or using an app like the Habit Tracker will help you get on the right track.

Keep your smile in shape—it can benefit your overall health, too. Learn more about healthy habits on the blog: