Achieve a Brighter Smile: How to Stick to Your Oral Health New Year’s Resolutions

New year's resolutions for better oral health.

Ring in the new year with a new oral health routine.

Many people view the new year as a symbolic start of a new goal or habit they want to achieve. If you are looking for some easy-to-keep new year’s resolutions, consider incorporating simple tasks that will enhance your oral health routine and help you stay committed to healthy habits. Our team at The Tooth Doc has some recommendations to help kick-start your new routine.

Set SMART goals for your oral health routine.

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated as you work toward something is by setting a SMART goal. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

When setting your goal, you want to make sure you choose something realistically attainable. This isn’t to discourage you from choosing things that require hard work but to encourage you to choose items you can clearly define and realistically achieve. Vague goals with unclear action steps may leave you feeling unmotivated, defeating the purpose of setting that goal in the first place.

When it comes to your oral health, one of the best SMART goals you can choose is flossing at least once a day. This is a goal that is specific (the act of flossing), measurable (it’s a conscious choice), and is easily achievable (all you need is the floss itself and a few minutes). It is relevant because flossing is essential for your oral health, and is time-bound because it’s a daily task.

A second example of a SMART goal pertaining to your oral health could be limiting sugar intake after a certain time of day, like 8 p.m. Sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria, so limiting its consumption is unquestionably beneficial for your oral health. Again, this is specific (limiting sugar), measurable (monitoring your intake), achievable (with a little planning and self-discipline), relevant (great for your oral health), and time-bound (daily practice).

Using the SMART formula is helpful when planning out any New Year’s resolution because you can easily track your progress and stay motivated. Starting off with these small, achievable goals will turn them into healthy habits for the rest of your life!

Personalize your oral care plan.

Another trick that will help you stick to your oral health resolutions is personalizing them to you and your lifestyle. Take a look at your existing self-care tasks and note how much time you spend (or don’t spend) on each activity. Could you squeeze in an extra five minutes in the morning and evening to make sure you are flossing twice a day? Do you often head to bed without brushing your teeth because you are too tired? 

After seeing what your habits are, consider blocking out time for your dental hygiene routine. Schedule specific times each day to brush and floss and then try to stick to that schedule as best you can. Developing healthy habits now will benefit you in the long run.

Remember that consistency is key.

The best way for you to achieve all of your oral health resolutions is by making them into consistent habits. One way to do this is by stacking them with already established activities. For instance, if you want to remember to brush your teeth at night before you go to bed, you could start to brush your teeth after you let the dog out at night. Eventually, you’ll get used to doing those activities in that order each night, which will help you avoid forgetting and heading straight to bed.

Habit stacking helps your brain put a string of events together so they become second nature. Once you’ve established your new routine, you’ll be proud of your achievements and wonder why you didn’t start a long time ago.

Celebrate the milestones.

Once you’ve picked your oral health goal, make sure you celebrate your milestones! Keep a daily log on a calendar, either on the wall or in your phone, and mark off every day you are able to keep up with your new oral health goals. Consider rewarding yourself for your consistency, maybe by putting a dollar in a jar for each week you complete your goal. Then when you reach the six-month or one-year mark, treat yourself to a small present with the money you’ve accumulated. Maybe you put it toward a nice dinner out or a new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing!

Check in with The Tooth Doc.

While your daily oral health habits are important, you also need to seek professional dental evaluations and cleanings at least twice a year from The Tooth Doc, your Omaha dental home, to ensure your dental health is up to par. Regular preventive visits help us detect any cavities or other dental issues early so that they don’t become larger issues in the future. Make sure you schedule your appointment today with The Tooth Doc!