8 Habits to Keep Your Teeth Forever Even with Zero Willpower

Let's face it,

You know you should take better care of your teeth.

But...

You just don't get around to it. You got those bills to pay. You got chores to do. You got fun to have with friends. You got...

Well, lazy...

Let's try a different approach.

First though, it's time to face the music. At this rate, you're probably going to lose your teeth.

By age 50, the average American has already lost 12 teeth. Between age 65 to 74, 26 percent have lost all their teeth. [1]

You know you need to change if you want to keep a healthy set of teeth.

How much is your smile worth to you?

  • For your professional life
  • For moments with your family
  • To enjoy your favorite foods
  • To avoid painful encounters with the dentist (for mouth and wallet)
  • Feel attractive to your spouse or love interest?

 

So, here's the problem with MOST of these so-called habit lists.

They don't work.

Unless...

You actually work to approach them with the biological science behind habit building.

In the research of Charles Duhigg as shown in his book “The Power of Habits, Why We Do What We Do” we, as human beings, are driven by habits. Most of the actions we do, we do without thinking, we do by habit. [2]

That means that in order to create a good habit, you are basically hacking your body to do healthy things without even having to invest that valuable brainpower (which of course, we would all like to save for watching our favorite TV show.)

So this time around, let's use this approach to "program" habits to last a lifetime.

To “program” a habit, you really need 3 things:

  1. Repetition of Routine
  2. Trigger
  3. Reward
 cycle
Mastering these 3 components is how to master your mind

To explain these, we’ll give you the example of:

How Brushing Teeth Became an American Habit

Actually, brushing teeth is a great example, because at one time, toothpaste was not even heard of in the American household until the early 20th century. The first toothpastes did not sell well. What changed? (we'll explore in these next sections)

Repetition

This part is common knowledge.

If you do something over and over, you will eventually start doing it without thinking.

According to research, it takes 66 days to truly build a lasting habit (yup, that 21 days you've heard of is not accurate) [3]

When did you start brushing your teeth? American children learn to do it when they are young, and most people do it without even thinking (even if it’s not properly). You’ve been doing it for years, so it’s pretty engrained by now and you don’t even think about it. That’s repetition.

The takeaways:

  • Consistency: To be successful in building a new habit, you’ll need to commit to follow the exact same routine for 66 days.
  • Focus on one at a time: don’t get overwhelmed by trying too many new things because your motivation will wane when inspiration phase wears off (yes, it’s happened to all of us). Just think, “I’m going to just do this one thing” and just do it!

 

Trigger

Here's where it gets interesting.

A true habit is always triggered by a cue. Just like when the Pavlov's dog associated the sound of a bell to food, we also connect to a cue that gives us the urge to do the habit because we want the reward at the end (which is the next section)

For Americans, our daily routine gives us signals to brush our teeth. Things like, seeing the clock is at a certain time, smelling your breath, turning off the light, walking into the bathroom, putting on your pajamas, etc. You probably don’t give much thought to brushing your teeth in your morning or pre-sleep routine.

The Takeaway: To be successful in creating a new habit, you need to create triggers that you know will always be there at the right place and time. You will first need to be conscious to make sure those triggers are there, but later you will be unconsciously triggered to do positive things.

Reward

As human beings, we seek pleasure and avoid discomfort.

This simple truth was the historic turning point that made brushing teeth with toothpaste a household habit (it wasn't always).

Pepsodent was the first brand of toothpaste to add “sensory rewards” when you brush your teeth. You feel it is working with the bubble suds and the fresh minty taste, and then you think, “It’s working”! Believe it or not, those are not even necessary. In fact, the bubbles can decrease the effectiveness. Yet other toothpastes before failed, until this addition of a reward turned toothpaste use into the common habit it is today

Takeaway: To create a reward that is closely associated with the habit. One that you only connect with the habit. Before you know it, you’ll be reaching to do your exercise routine, eating well, and taking perfect care of your mouth...without even giving it a thought.

Now for the holistic habits that will help you keep a lifetime of healthy teeth

So here's your habit game plan:

  • Do one consistent routine for 66 days
  • Pay attention to the rewards
  • Make sure to have consistent triggers and timing

    Habit #1: A REAL Good Brush

    You know that brushing is critical to good health

    YET Most Americans

    • do not brush correctly
    • do not brush frequently enough (twice per day is recommended)
    • do not brush long enough (recommended time is 2 minutes)

    One survey found that 49% of men and 57% of women said they brush their teeth only once a day on average, while 44% of men and 37% of women said they were twice-daily brushers. [4]

    It’s time to reprogram your brushing routine.

    What you’ll need:

    1. A timer - a small timer or even one of those liquid “lava” timers (great for kids). Some electric toothbrushes also have a timer function.
    2. Quality Toothbrush (electric optional): To keep you toothbrush bacteria free, buy a new brush/brush head every 3 months. An easy way to remember is to buy a new one every time you buy new toothpaste.
    3. Toothpaste: Ideally, you should use a fluoride-free toothpaste. While Fluoride is good for your enamel, it has been shown to cause cancer if ingested. We like Tom’s.

    The Perfect Brush Routine

    1. Set timer for 3 minutes (to ensure a good brush)
    2. Quick dry brush
    3. 30 second rinse with water and Ultimate Gum Solution and spit
    4. Floss (doing this first helps remove plaque between teeth)
    5. Brush with toothpaste until the timer is complete
      1. Start with gentle circles (not too hard)
      2. Angle towards the insides of the gums, placing your brush at a 45-degree angle. Pay attention to the spaces where the gum meets the teeth.
      3. Do "pullers" for the back teeth gums and push up to pull plaque out
      4. Brush your tongue and inner cheeks
    6. 30 second rinse with water and Ultimate Gum Solution (this is especially important to rinse off fluoride)
    7. Add a few drops of Ultimate Gum Solution directly in any problem areas. Swish it around without water and spit.

    perfectbrush

    Brush Trigger Idea: We recommend you to print out our Perfect Brush Routine Cheatsheet and place it on your bathroom wall to start out.

    Brush Reward Ideas:

    1. Feeling fresh breath after you finish.
    2. Consider also doing something afterward you enjoy such as jumping into a soft bed or drinking some warm sugarless tea with a book. (chamomile, green, chai, or ginseng are good for mouth health)

     

    Habit #2: Flossing Made Easy

    Statistics say you are probably not flossing or doing it wrong.

    Most of the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease live in these hard-to-reach spots in the mouth. Yet only 4 in 10 Americans floss everyday. [5]

    Here’s the big trick to start a flossing habit:

    Commit to flossing one tooth per brushing session. That's it.

    This will allow you to get repetition of the routine. And then flossing a whole row, and finally every tooth will not be difficult.

    Tip: Experiment with different types of floss including thin, wide, nylon, plastic, waxed, unwaxed, flavored, or plain, or try floss picks or interdental brushes (if your teeth have enough space between).

    Important: Do NOT floss like this.

    “Sawing Motion” is a common mistake made by a majority. Flossing incorrectly is likely to make NO difference according to research.

    Proper floss technique

    1. Cut floss at least 18 inches
    2. Put floss between teeth, making sure you get as far down as is comfortable
    3. Move hands in a circular motions with floss taut
    4. Then pull out floss back from the direction you came at a 45 degree angle towards a tooth (scraping off plaque).
    5. Then re-input the floss in the same juncture and pull 45 degrees towards the other side

    Once you get it, each tooth juncture only takes 4-6 seconds.

    This might sound obvious, but don’t reuse floss and don’t use odd items like screwdrivers and pocket knives to floss. (you’d be surprised!)

    Floss Trigger: Just do it during your regular brushing session.

    Floss Reward Ideas:

    • Try minty floss
    • You really really will start to feel cleaner teeth after a few times. You won't see bleeding anymore after a few days.
    • Again, give yourself some "YOU" time afterward

      Habit #3: Exercise Without Thinking About It

      Huh?

      You thought this was just about brushing and flossing and all that "mouth stuff".

      What most people don't realize is that having healthy teeth and gums is actually dependent just as much on overall health. Actually, just addressing teeth and gums and ignoring the rest is putting a band-aid on deeper problems. We go into detail about it in this post.

      exercise
      Oral health is linked to overall health.
      Both affect the other.

      So how to adopt a healthy lifestyle?

      We have all been there: Starting a new exercise routine, and giving up after a few times. It is suggested you exercise at least 30 minutes a day until you are out of breath. And a more intense 60 minutes twice a week. But you’ve got to start somewhere...

      How to follow through this time!

      To get exercise to be a natural habit:

      Start with the motions

      • For the gym: start by showing up with no commitment to actually exercise. Just get in the habit of showing up.
      • Make tiny easy goals to do exercise for 30 seconds.
      • Then build up your routine.

      Here’s some easy tips to incorporate triggers and rewards:

      1. Set out your equipment: Before bed, keep your exercise equipment (ie sneakers) near you so that (a study showed this increased follow through)
      2. Give yourself a reward of low sugar dark chocolate right after you exercise
      3. Do an enjoyable sport that you like, biking, hiking in nature that turns exercise time into a fun "game" or "adventure"
      4. Just be consistent for those 67 days (don't skip a day) You body will eventually start enjoying the rush of oxygen and oxytocin that you get from exercising.
      5. Exercise at a consistent time: A great time to do exercise is in the morning since it is a constant. You can also go right before or after work. Just make it a practice to always show up at your regular fitness location. 

      Habit #4: Nutrient-Rich Diet (even for non-cooks)

      This is not common knowledge.

      But the biggest reason why you still get cavities and unhealthy gums when you brush, floss, etc, is nutritional deficiency.

      Research shows that it is a direct cause of most common oral conditions. [6] So much so, that you can use your dental issues to diagnose which vitamins and minerals you may be lacking (see this post for details)

      So what to do about it?

      There are tons of diets out there. Keto, low-carb, paleo, cleansing, alkaline, etc.

      STOP overcomplicating things.

      Research about dieting is pretty bleak. A UCLA review of serveral studies show that you may lose 5-10 pounds in the first few months but will likely regain the weight afterwards and thensome. [9]

      Let’s simplify things.

      What you need is simply two things.

      1. Calorie balance. You can think of staying at a healthy weight as a math equation. If your input is greater than your output (even by a little bit), you will gain, and the opposite is true for weight loss. It's that simple.
      2. Eat nutrient-rich vegetables: The challenge for most diets is making the all-critical vegetable consumption a habit. (we will explain how to below)

      But first, here's how to make calorie consumption a habit so you can stay at a healthy ideal weight.

      1. Download a calorie counter app. We recommend MyFitnessPal which is free. You can choose your foods, and it will log the calorie amount for you.
      2. To start, simply log your calories. Do this for the first month and don’t worry about how much calories you consume, just make a habit of counting. Every time you enter a meal, give yourself a little reward like a low-sugar dark chocolate (don't worry about counting a small piece of chocolate).
      3. Set a calorie goal to hit three days of the week. The app will usually suggest a goal based on your weight, height, and exercise rate. Start out trying to hit your goal just 3 times a week. Then on the 2nd week, make it 4 of 7 days. etc. until you hit 6...
      4. Reward yourself with a cheat day if you hit your weekly goal. Schedule one day in your week as a cheat day where you can have whatever you like (and make it good). Mark it on your calendar and write down something you’re looking forward to. A cheat day gives your brain a reward and has shown to be effective in maintaining your diet plan.

      One thing you’ll notice if you start counting calories is that junk food and fast food have a ton of calories. You'll start cutting those out to hit your goal, but you can save them for your cheat day if that's what you're into.

      Now the vegetable part of the equation.

      It's easy when you follow these steps:

      1. Choose your favorite: Take a look at the vege list below and pick out the ones that you really like. This is important, because you want to enjoy them so that they are part of the reward of eating.
      2. Buy them: Make a practice of going out and buying them at least once a week.
      3. Use preparation shortcuts: Start preparing them with the lazy cook's shortcuts below. We included our favorite delicious recipes to prepare them with 5 minutes or less active time. If you are cooking, make a habit to prepare a side of veggies.
      4. Cook in bulk and portion: To make sure you eat some veggies with EVERY meal without even having to wrestle with the existential crisis of cooking some veggies, just put them in a quick reachable container in the fridge (i.e. tupperware or ziplocs). You can prepare them for 3 days forward (write the date).

      Now the lists:

      Lazy Person’s Guide to Prepping Vegetables That Are Actually Yummy

      1. Avocado - Cut and enjoy with toasts, crackers or chips.
      2. Spinach - Wash and drain the spinach, boil enough water to cover spinach, cook for 1-2 minutes (until spinach is wilted), remove from heat, drain and toss on some butter, salt and lemon juice to taste. Great for any meal.
      3. Broccoli - Buy pre-cut, wash. Toss with 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper. Sprinkle top with real fresh shredded parm, salt and pepper. Add to oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until florets are tender enough when pierced with a fork. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top (optional)
      4. Cauliflower - Buy frozen cauliflower rice and switch with your rice a few times a week.
      5. Eggplant – Wash and slice. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and spray each slice with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. To finish, you can top each slice with approximately 1 tbsp marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, parm, oregano and red pepper flakes. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. You can also throw the leftovers into a pasta (or replace the pasta for you low-carb dieters)
      6. Zucchini – You may also follow the same recipe as eggplant: Cut and roast with parm, you may also try adding other seasonings such as thyme, basil or garlic powder. You can throw the leftovers into a pasta (or replace the pasta for you low-carb dieters)
      7. Cabbage - Keep pre-made coleslaw or kimchi. For a quick coleslaw dressing, whisk ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp vinegar in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
      8. Squash - Make a few slashes on skin to allow air to escape and put it whole in the oven for 1.5 hrs. Throw it the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour to obtain caramelly delicious flavor. Keep in the fridge and add it to any meal.
      9. Asparagus – Trim the ends of asparagus, toss with 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil, 1 clove crushed garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with real fresh shredded parm and bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes until spears are tender when pierced with a fork. Squeeze fresh lemon juice to serve.
      10. Cucumber - Also a good one for salad or as an appetizer with salt or soy sauce or as a kimchi.
      11. Artichoke – Spread some frozen artichoke hearts in a single layer and pop in the oven with butter, a few slices of garlic, salt and pepper to taste. You may choose to drizzle with olive oil instead of using butter. Roast at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until lightly brown.
      12. Kale - Buy pre-cut. Wash and thoroughly dry. Spread kale in a single layer and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt to taste. Roast at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 15 minutes until kale reaches crispy texture but are not browned. Store extra and add to things.
      13. Salad – Pre-make and split your salads into servings. Quick grab with any meal (even if someone else if cooking!)
      14. Corn on the Cob - Bring water to a boil and turn off the fire. Drop in corn and leave it in there until you are ready to eat (at least 10 minutes).
      15. Frozen Veggies - Go to Trader Joe’s or your favorite market and choose your favorite veggies. These are quick to prepare!

      vegetable

        Habit #5: Take the (correct) vitamins

        Vitamins are a great way to supplement if you are deficient in your diet. If you don't get enough, it'll start to show up in your teeth conditions.

        However, there are wrong vitamins to take.

        You really just need to take what you are deficient at. While some water-soluble vitamins will just be released, some get absorbed and too much isn't good either.

        You can see which vitamins and minerals you might be lacking in this article.

        Taking vitamins is an easy habit when you...

        • Make it rewarding: You can take something tasty like gummies.
        • You should just portion out your vitamins and place them in a location you constantly see and are in easy reach. (consider your work desk)
        • Take a nutritional mouthwash during your brush routine to absorb nutrition directly as well as remedy oral health issues.

          Habit #6: Clean Off That Sugar Quick!

          You know sugar gives you cavities, but here's the truth.

          There are two threats sugar poses to your mouth

          • Direct bait for bacteria
          • Indirectly by weakening health

          For the direct threat to your teeth, it's not the amount of sugar you take, but the length of time it's on your teeth. You can consider sugar exposure as a length of time rather than the amount you take. [7]

          Eating cookies with dinner will do less harm to your teeth than eating them in the middle of the afternoon as a separate snack.

          It's not the sugar itself, but the bacteria that feed on it which produce acid that eat your teeth. You are feeding the bacteria everytime you eat sugar or other carbs.


          When is sugar okay? You must reduce sugar
          exposure to prevent teeth eating bacteria.

          Quick habits to reduce sugar exposure:

          • Do a quick water rinse with a drop of Ultimate Gum Solution
          • Drink water often and swish it after every meal or snack
          • Make a habit of brushing teeth after every meal
          • Chew some sugar-free gum if you cannot brush teeth (ideally a dental gum)

          But sugar also has an indirect threat...

          Cleaning off is probably not going to cut it if you also eat too much-processed sugar and carbs. This can give your other health issues especially if you have some allergies to processed carbohydrates or gluten. It also puts excess calories that your body cannot use (and turns to fat) and bacteria love to feed on it. This makes you more vulnerable to all sorts of infections, including in your mouth.

          Experiment: A good idea to try at least once in your life is to cut out sugar and processed carbs like white bread and pasta for one month. Sometimes you will find a health condition will disappear.

          Habit #7: Drink more water

          Water is actually a necessary nutrient. We cannot produce enough to survive. Health authorities commonly recommend to drink about 2 liters of water a day.

          You can probably tell that you need more water if your urine is dark yellow.

          water
          You are probably not drinking
          enough water. But there are
          techniques to make it easy.

          There are some serious benefits from drinking water:

          • It washes off any sugar to reduce the exposure time (which is when cavities will form)
          • You will be able to have better energy, physical performance and brain function
          • Can prevent and treat headaches.
          • Can avoid /relieve constipation which can cause facial breakout, loss of appetite, bad breath, among other side effects.
          • Helps with weight loss
          • Helps with absorption of nutrients.
          • It is good for saliva production and keeping a good pH level for your oral health

          Here's the trick to make it a habit

          Make a refill trigger: Keep a dedicated water bottle near you and refilling it as soon as you see it is empty. You can even reward yourself a low-sugar chocolate when you do so.

          If you can get a larger bottle you also don’t need to fill up as much.

          Make a drink trigger: Some ideas:

          • Right after your brush routine (make sure you rinsed well so you don’t drink down fluoride)
          • Right after you have anything sugary.
          • Keep it near your bed and drink some the moment you wake up (you are thirsty and drinking water will energize your cells)
          • Keep it near you throughout your daily routine such as at your desk.
          • Try placing it on top of your phone.

          If you are able to master a few triggers and rewards, you will be drinking the proper amount of water in no time.

          Habit #8: Nutritional Mouthwash

          Of all the habits, a nutritional mouthwash is the only one that has a direct effect on both your mouth and the entire body.

          Why not Listerine?

          Commercial mouthwashes are harsh, kill good mouth bacteria, and create a pH environment for bacteria to quickly come back. [8]

          A unique thing about a nutritional mouthwash is that it acts both as absorbable topical nutrition and as a natural antibiotic that targets bad bacteria and not good bacteria. This will give you a lot of relief from common gum and teeth issues while also giving you a nutritional supplement.

          It is also the easiest of the 8 habits to implement.

          Simply adding the drops to your current brushing and water rinse routine.

          Right now, you won’t find a whole lot of options on the market. Of course, we believe our product, Ultimate Gum Solution, is the best. :)

          You can try it for free here.

          When brushing, it is a good idea is to keep your toolkit all together so you can pick up each thing one at a time. You see them and then you start picking up one after the other.

          gumsolution

          So to summarize

          The 8 Habits of keeping that smile your whole life

          Here are the holistic habits:

          1. A REAL Good Brush
          2. Flossing
          3. Exercise
          4. Nutrient-Rich Diet
          5. Take the (correct) vitamins
          6. Clean Off That Sugar Quick
          7. Drink More Water
          8. Nutritional Mouthwash

          Phew! that's a lot of content, and as useful as it is, you are not going to remember everything. So in the hopes that you can implement everything, we created a cheatsheet that you can print out and reference anytime. (you can get free access to the cheatsheet here)

          Don't worry, this time, cheating is only a good thing.

          You can print the cheatsheet out and place them strategically as habit triggers, or as quick references.

          Thanks for reading, and please comment and let us know what "habits hacks" have been working for you.

          dentist

           

          sunglee

          Sung Lee, Founder

          "I had spent over $25,000 for two major gum surgeries with only partial success. Since formulating Ultimate Gum Solution, I’ve never been to a dentist office or spend even one penny for any gum treatment. 

          These 15 years we've been in business, our aim has been to assure those with gum disease symptoms should never have to spend $1000's on gum surgeries and treatments as long as they take the nutritional path."


          REFERENCES

          [1] Did You Know That By Age 50 Americans Have Lost an Average Of 12 Teeth? I'm scraper-https://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/did-you-know-that-by-age-50-americans-have-lost-an-average-of-12-teeth/

          [2] The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Charles Duhigg - Anchor Canada - 2014

          [3] How Long Does It Take To Form a Habit? Backed By Science. James Clear - https://jamesclear.com/new-habit

          [4] The Gross Truth About How Often We Actually Brush Our Teeth. Yahoo Health - https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/the-gross-truth-about-how-often-we-actually-brush-111862206182.html

          [5] Brushing & Flossing: Technique & Choosing Dental Products | Colgate - https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/ada-10-survey-finds-shortcomings-in-americans-dental-health-habits

          [6] Aparna Sheetal-Vinay Hiremath-Anand Patil-Sangmeshwar Sajjansetty-Sheetal Kumar - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3576783/

          [7] Mouth-healthy Eating
          https://www.colgateprofessional.com/education/patient-education/topics/caries/mouth-healthy-eating

          [8] Mouthwash May Kill Beneficial Bacteria in Mouth and Trigger Diabetes, Harvard Study Suggests. Sarah Knapton -
          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/11/22/mouthwash-may-kill-beneficial-bacteria-mouth-trigger-diabetes/

          [9] Wolpert, S. (2007, April 03). Dieting does not work, UCLA researchers report. Retrieved from http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832

          Author: 

          Written by Michael Holmes