does brushing your teeth really matter?
Does brushing your teeth really matter?
This may seem like a silly question, but bear with me…
I don’t wash my car every day. (In fact, it’s been looking a bit grimy these days, as I navigate all the leaves, pollen and mud of the season.) But once a month, I aim to drive through a carwash that brushes, soaps, scrubs, sprays, and rinses my car better than I could ever do at home.
And my car is quite happy with this arrangement. This monthly cleaning doesn’t impact its function in the least!
So, why can’t I do the same with my teeth? Why can’t I go to the dentist the recommended frequency of once every six months, and have them deep clean my teeth without having to do the boring, monotonous work of using a toothbrush twice (or more) a day?
You, of course, know the answer.
Intensity vs Consistency
If you only went to the dentist, and didn’t care for your teeth at home, you would soon have a jar of teeth instead of a mouthful of teeth.
Your teeth need to be effective to do the work (dicing and chewing) that your digestion requires of them. But they don’t impact digestion alone! Teeth exist in an environment that benefits the rest of your body when properly cared for (something called the oral-systemic connection.)
This daily upkeep vs. periodic tune-up is a distinction that the author, speaker, and marketing culture expert Simon Sinek calls Intensity vs Consistency.
I love this distinction! And I think we should apply it to all health and healthcare.
Intensity is the machine-powered car wash. It’s the deep cleaning at the dentist. It’s the tune-up.
As a culture, we love Intensity. Once and done!
Consistency, on the other hand, is daily brushing. It’s also sleep, exercise, relaxation, connection, and of course, diet. Consistency is tracking your trends and habits to see what’s working for you and what’s not. Consistency is identifying the foods and activities that are a must for your health and happiness and making those routines as practiced as, well, brushing your teeth!
Yet consistency isn’t always fun. It isn’t sexy. And it doesn’t appear to have any effect…at first.
You don’t get six-pack abs after one workout, and you don’t say goodbye to your irritable bowel disease after eliminating sugar for one day, or even one month (and oftentimes, eliminating one thing, like sugar, even if you do it completely, won’t have the desired effect all on its own, without any other changes.)
Consistency is a quiet hero
Consistency is your key to success in health and healing.
And it’s so quiet, you could miss it if you weren’t paying attention.
Consistency is going to bed at the time you’ve determined works for your body every night.
Consistency is eating fat, fiber and protein at every meal.
Consistency is really eliminating refined sugar.
Consistency is taking small, manageable steps each day, knowing that (sometimes invisibly) you’re taking back control of your health.
Remember, you’re the one who brushes your teeth. You’re the one who takes yourself on a walk. And you’re the one who makes ALL the diet and lifestyle changes that your Functional Nutrition practitioner recommends.
YOU are the hero, and consistency is one of your superpowers!