This article has been updated from a post originally published 1/2/18.
Did you know more than 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail within the month? That's why we advocate for setting New Year’s goals instead, especially when it comes to your oral health.
Why? Here’s the difference:
- Goals are more action-oriented, making it easier to develop a game plan for success.
- A resolution says, “I want to floss more.” A goal says, “I am going to floss once a day in the afternoon or evening.”
See the difference? By tying an action plan to your desired outcome, you are far more likely to reach your goals.
In this article, we’re going to inspire your oral health goals with a daily and monthly game plan with actionable tasks that can be measured and added to a calendar.
The daily game plan
The foundation of your new and improved oral health habit is your daily game plan.
What you need:
- Dental floss
We’re going to be real with you: your mouth is home to billions of bacteria. This might sound gross, but for the most part, these organisms are not harmful. In fact, many play an important role in maintaining a healthy mouth and aiding in digestion.
However, these bacteria need to be kept in check with good oral health habits. Otherwise, they go from helpful allies to the primary cause of tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
Here’s your daily oral health game plan:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a soft toothbrush and make sure you gently brush along your gum line, as well as behind your teeth.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. And if you notice food stuck between your teeth, use floss and skip the toothpicks if possible: they can cause injury or even receding gums.
- Rinse your mouth at least once a day with an antibacterial mouthwash. Many people choose to do this at night as part of their evening routine.
Altogether, this daily program takes less than 10 minutes of your day and can save you money on dental care down the road.
The monthly game plan
With your daily program well established, it’s time to look at the bigger picture of your oral health goals.
What you need:
- A calendar app or a physical planner
- Your choice of grocery store, drug store or online retailer
- A dentist you trust
While getting in the habit of caring for your oral health at home is vitally important and should never be skipped, it’s not sufficient enough on its own.
For one, the supplies you use to keep your mouth clean naturally wear out over time and it’s important to replace them when the time comes. (Hint: If you can’t remember the last time you bought a new toothbrush, it is probably time to replace yours.)
Secondly, no matter how well you brush and floss your teeth, you’re not going to be able to do a perfect job. Over time, plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth and then hardens to become tartar. Removing tartar requires professional cleaning by a dental hygienist.
Finally, a routine examination by a licensed dentist is not only important for your oral health, but it can also have a significant impact on your overall health.
With all that in mind, open up your calendar of choice and log these key dates for your monthly game plan:
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or whenever the bristles begin to fray or bend.
- If you use one, replace your tongue cleaner every 3-4 months as well.
- Don’t let your floss and mouthwash run out. Keep up your good habits by keeping tabs on your supply.
- Visit the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and routine examination.
The bottom line: If you’re looking to improve your oral health habits in 2023, setting actionable goals is a great way to get it done. Use our daily and monthly game plans to set you on the path to a year-round healthy smile.