5 Ways to Practice Self-care Through Oral Care
What is self-love?
In the simplest way I can put it, it is being kind to yourself.
A dear friend once told me when I was going through a rough patch - If you don’t love yourself, take care of yourself, and celebrate yourself - how can you be the best version of yourself. And if you aren’t feeling your best, how can you be the best dentist for your patients? And in my case, for the kiddos, I see at my practice!
That really struck a chord. I assume most, if not all of us, have had moments in life where our world feels like it's crashing down and everything feels overwhelming. In my thirties, I realized how important my mental, physical and emotional health all work together for my total well-being.
So how do I now prioritize “me”?
Self-love. Self-care. Me time.
For some, self-love can look like meditation or traveling, or a walk to get some fresh air. For others, it could be yoga or cooking or painting! A solo trip to Costco is literally self-love for me some days 😄.
A big part of self-love is taking care of your body. How your body reacts is based on how you treat it.
Your physical health is important to how your body moves and functions. Since your mouth is a part of your body, feeling self-love also means taking care of your oral health. Your oral health is important for your speech and eating. But did you know your teeth are also important for your overall health? A bad cavity can lead to pain, swelling, and fever which can affect nutrition, speech, learning ability, and overall demeanor. Children with the oral disease tend to miss more school and receive lower grades. Keep reading to find 5 ways to step up your oral care and hence self-care.
Visit your dentist twice a year
I know, I know, as a dentist, I am probably not your favorite person, but your dentist’s goal is to help you feel comfortable and ensure you have great oral health. Regular checkups can help identify problems early on and fix them before they get worse. The more often you make appointments to the dentist twice a year, the shorter and more comfortable your appointments can become.
Spend a few minutes each day on your oral hygiene
Have you ever left food sitting in a trash can for way too long? It starts to stink as the food is breaking down. This is the same thing that happens with food that gets stuck in between our teeth.
If the food is not removed through proper brushing and flossing, it starts to break down, and it will break down our teeth and cause our breath to stink. And of course, we don’t want to forget our tongue! Without proper cleaning, it can also cause stinky breath. Shop my favorite tongue cleaner here. A happy healthy smile can improve self-esteem and social interactions. I can tell you that the 2 minutes every morning and night go a long way.
Make a small investment for a big payout
Invest in eco-friendly products. Grin Natural’s dental floss picks are a great option. They’re easy to use and easy to carry around. Plus they’re biodegradable, which helps reduce the environmental impact compared to many of the other floss picks that are made of plastic.
Flossing may not be your favorite thing to do but your gums, teeth and your dentist will thank you for it 😉.
Sometimes the smallest acts of self-care have the biggest impact. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to form a habit. So who’s taking on the flossing challenge with me?
Set a great example for those who are watching
The little kids around us are watching, and all the habits we have can invariably pass onto them. Modeling great self-care in the form of oral care can inspire your child to do the same without you ever even saying a word.
Turn brushing into a family activity, a bonding opportunity, or a teaching moment. Get creative and make it fun! Play your kids’ favorite song while brushing. Offer rewards for consistent brushing to reinforce positive behavior. Grin Natural has a great selection of sticker and brushing chart that are sure to fuel your child’s independence and confidence.
When your child is brushing regularly, praise them and double-check their work by helping them brush afterward until age 7. Before this age, they are still mastering the skills to brush their teeth to the best of their abilities.
Give the gift of self-care
In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health concluded that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. It produces the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”
In simpler words, giving gifts to other people makes us feel better about ourselves.
And with the holiday season right around the corner, give the gift of oral care products to your loved ones. It’ll make both you and the recipient of your gift feel better.
Self-love does not have to be extravagant vacations (Although a trip to Dubai would be amazing right now!). Small actions such as brushing your teeth and flossing can add up to make all the difference. And no matter what, be kind to yourself.
You’re doing the best you can!
About the Author
Dr. Nidhi Kotak, popularly known as the BabyToothDentist is a Pediatric Dental Resident and a Certified Lactation Counselor in Philadelphia. Dr. Kotak has practiced dentistry in 4 countries: U.S.A. U.A.E. Kenya and India and received the Young Outstanding Dentist Award in 2011. She is passionate about spreading awareness about oral hygiene for children and currently works at Temple University Hospital.