Most people have a set of routines that they follow religiously. Whether it’s the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing you do before going to bed, the brain creates shortcuts to make life easier. As a result, you don’t have to think about every little thing in life.
Some of those shortcuts, however, are not good for you. When it comes to oral health routines, for example, some people “conveniently” forget to brush their teeth for more than two minutes. There are also those who drink too many sugary beverages or don’t brush 30 minutes after every meal. You know what to do, but your brain says otherwise.
Avongentledentist.com, a local practice, believes that there’s a way to re-wire your brain for a better oral routine — and fortunately, there is.
It’s a New Loop
Neuroscientific research suggests that habits have three parts — the cue, the routine, and the reward. The cue prompts the body to do an action, the routine is the action, and the reward is why you do the action.
For example, skipping brushing your teeth. Your cue is you want to sleep the moment you put on your pajamas. Rather than doing your evening oral routine (brushing), you fell asleep — the action, in this case — and sleep some more — the reward.
One of the most effective ways to change your routine is by keeping the reward, but changing the precursors. In this case, you can sleep all you want and keep your teeth cleaning and flossing habit.
How Can You Achieve This?
Achieving a new pattern isn’t as difficult it seems. It’s all about determining what works for your evening routine. For example, try moving dinner forward by 10 to 15 minutes or organize tomorrow morning’s wardrobe once you get home from work.
The key is finding a way to change the routine and make it fit your lifestyle. As a result, your new cue is the want to sleep, followed by the routine (brushing your teeth) and the reward (sleep). Increased available time in the evening proves easier for the new routine, and it keeps your teeth clean without the shortcuts.
Keeping a routine is challenging for the first week or so, but if you practice it religiously, you’ll train your body to prioritize your oral health before you get some good night's sleep.