What does it mean to “feel like Groundhog Day?”
Hopefully, your dental routine doesn’t feel like that, because it only happens once a year. That would be bad news.
But, your oral health self-care habits can end up feeling like the well known movie, Groundhog Day.
In this classic Bill Murray comedy, Phil Connor - a cynical and sarcastic TV reporter - is sent to a small town to report on the annual Groundhog Day celebration when he inexplicably finds that he can’t escape the day! Each morning, he wakes up in his hotel room and is forced to relive the exact same day over and over again until he can figure out a way to change history.
While the movie is a comedy, the feeling of doing the same thing over and over again with no end in sight can be anything but funny. So when you consider your dental routine, how can you maintain excellent oral health without succumbing to the dreaded Groundhog Day doldrums?
"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."
Freshen up more than just your breath
If you find you’re forgetting to brush or floss regularly because it’s become so mundane, try freshening up your routine with a brand new toothbrush, a new toothpaste you’ve never tried before, or a flossing aid you’ve never used.
Just the act of trying something new can liven up your oral health habits, and there’s essentially no end to the experimentation with hundreds of different brushes, pastes, and accessories available to choose from.
Many dentists recommend electric toothbrushes since they do an excellent job of cleaning the teeth and users tend to brush slower and longer using them. They’re also especially good for elderly patients or those with conditions that make the hand and arm movements involved in traditional brushing painful or difficult.
Insert oral care into a routine you already enjoy
If it’s not just the act of taking care of your teeth that’s making it tough to follow through, it may be the timing.
For many people, brushing and flossing their teeth isn’t particularly exciting. That’s likely why it’s so easily forgotten or avoided by so many, especially children.
But if you consciously decide to include your daily oral care habits into routines you already have established and already enjoy, they could come much easier to you.
Most people who successfully maintain a daily brushing and flossing habit include them in their nightly bedtime ritual. They may even do everything involved with preparing for bed in the same order every night. Developing a comforting bedtime routine that triggers your mind to realize it’s time to settle down and prepare for sleep can assist in better rest.
The same goes for adding brushing and flossing to your morning routines. If taking care of your teeth becomes as automatic as making that first cup of coffee, you’ll never forget to do it again!
Build a new plan for oral health
"Most people who successfully maintain a daily brushing and flossing habit include them in their nightly bedtime ritual. They may even do everything involved with preparing for bed in the same order every night."
It can be just as effective to make oral health care the center of a brand new routine.
Being so close to the start of a new year, there’s a good chance you’re still working on whatever resolutions you made for 2017. Some will be kept, and some won’t. That’s just life. But the ones that tend to stick are the ones that are easy, habitual, and that provide recognizable benefits.
Caring for your teeth daily certainly is easy, when you get down to it:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time
- Floss at least once a day
- Rinse daily with an antibacterial mouthwash
That’s it! Combined with a biannual visit to the dentist, that’s really all it takes. Recognizable benefits begin immediately:
- Fresher breath
- Clean-feeling mouth
- Whiter teeth
- Nicer smile
And longer-term benefits aren’t far behind:
- Less cavities
- Prevent gum disease
- Keep your teeth as you age
The key is making these simple, beneficial tasks habitual.
Rather than making a resolution to do something you know is likely to be boring every day at a certain time, why not build a fun, enjoyable, positive routine around your oral care? Here are some fun activities to include along with brushing and flossing to make sure it happens every day:
- Checking the day’s headlines and weather
- Scanning your favorite social media platform (just a few minutes, remember!)
- Brewing coffee
- Listening to a favorite song
- … whatever makes you smile. (After all, that’s why you’re brushing in the first place!)
Don’t be the old Phil Connor whose attitude got him stuck in a rut of endlessly repeated Groundhog Days. Instead, be the new Phil Connor who finds joy in the little things - like brushing your teeth every day. For more reasons it’s important to take care of your teeth and mouth now, find out how your oral health affects your overall health and what you can do to save on dental care at your next visit.