As we start the third month of 2017, about half of the people who started New Year’s resolutions have most likely abandoned them.
Don’t take it personally, that’s just the statistics.
Data exist on practically everything these days, so it’s no surprise to see a slew of articles each year that serve as a reality check to every optimistic resolution-maker. FiveThirtyEight, The Guardian, USA Today and others publish stories with the sobering info, in attempt to find out what types of things people try to do and where they end up failing.
General health improvement is arguably the most popular resolution. For some people this specifically means losing weight by diet, exercise or both. For others this includes specific habit goals, like stopping smoking.
The biggest stumbling block people run into is trying to do too much, too quickly. Starting a diet, joining a gym and drastically changing your daily schedule can be hard to maintain all at once.
The American Psychological Association recommends that incremental changes are more likely to stick. According to psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD, “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for.”
So let’s get back on track (or get on track at all) with some straightforward dental-health habits. We at Schumacher & Bauer guarantee that you do not need a total life overhaul to get positive results for your dental and general health.
One simple habit to make sure you follow is flossing regularly. Statistics say that about half of us floss daily, around the same number of people who stick to their resolutions! You may have read some news articles about the mixed evidence for flossing, mainly based on a low number of thoroughly detailed studies. But all signs points to flossing as a useful management tool for gingivitis. Flossing is low risk, low cost and a perfect simple habit change to fit into your schedule (if you don’t do it regularly enough already). No need to be aggressive; don’t “saw” between teeth. Just focus on dislodging things between your teeth that you may not be able to get with a toothbrush.
Another simple habit switch that can have a huge effect on dental and general health is swapping water in for sugary drinks and omitting added sugar from coffee and tea. Drinking water with acidic foods can even help prevent the acids from sticking around on your teeth. By this point it’s practically a cliche for dental health professionals to preach against sugar, but the advice applies well past your mouth. Last year, news broke that for the past half century, the sugar industry funded scientific research that downplayed the adverse health effects of sugar, including its possible role in heart disease.
This habit change is not nearly as easy as others, but always ranks on New Year’s resolution lists. Quitting smoking can grant immediate oral health benefits. Besides the myriad general health reasons to motivate you, holding on to your teeth may be a helpful reminder.
For a really simple dental health improvement, make sure you are brushing correctly. One of the biggest tips for brushing is to make sure you aren’t brushing too aggressively and irritating gums or causing abrasions on your teeth. Choosing the right toothbrush and using gentle short strokes can help.
The fact that it’s not New Year’s resolution time may actually make it easier to take on some of these incremental health-improving habits, or improve what you already do. To keep yourself on the right track, the APA recommends talking about your resolutions. Feel free to use us for this step, we here at Schumacher & Bauer are always willing to talk dental health!