Making a big change in your overall health doesn’t happen all at once. Our lives are made of habits, and the little decisions we make throughout every day accumulate to make a massive impact.
Orthodontic care is just one piece of the health puzzle.
Even though your orthodontist helps correct very specific problems with your mouth and teeth, those corrections impact your whole life, from increasing your confidence level to lowering your risk of heart disease.
Since we know first hand that a small change often makes an incredibly big difference, we’ve put together this list of 5 more ways you can make simple changes with big impacts.
5 Small Changes That Make A Huge Health Difference
Floss every day.
You already know that flossing cleans your teeth better than you ever could with nothing but a toothbrush. That’s not a new idea.
Daily flossing leads to better breath, reduced risk of gum disease, and a whiter, brighter smile. Some studies have even suggested that flossing every day can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes because it cleans disease-causing bacteria out of your mouth.
What you might not realize is that there’s a second layer of benefits.
By taking excellent care of your oral health, you look and feel better. It’s easier to smile more, easier to attract positive attention from other people, and easier to exude confidence.
Some people have even reported that little changes to improve their oral hygiene have resulted in promotions at work, business opportunities, and more romantic encounters. Isn’t that worth the few minutes it takes to floss each day?
Eat a healthy breakfast.
There’s a big difference between eating a breakfast with whole grains, protein and real nutritional value, and grabbing a jelly donut at a drive through window.
Eating a protein-rich breakfast within an hour of waking has been linked to healthier weight, better nutrition throughout the day, fewer headaches, more energy, better concentration, increased physical strength and endurance, lower cholesterol, reduced hunger and cravings during the day, and better performance at work or school.
According to most studies, the best breakfast option for people who normally skip it is simply 2 eggs, preferably cooked without much additional fat.
If you have time for a larger meal, aim for lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables, such as a meat and veggie omelet with a slice of whole grain toast.
Everybody burns calories at a different rate, but in general, 10,000 steps translates to about 500 calories burned.
You don’t have to go for a walk in the morning to fit more steps into your day, although if you’re willing to give it a try, that’s a great healthy habit to adopt.
For most people, it’s easier to fit in more steps here and there within our normal habits. Instead of trying to do everything at once, we park farther from work and walk an extra block, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and choose a lunch spot that’s around a quarter mile from the office and walk there instead of driving.
Walking is great for maintaining a healthy weight, and it also reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, improves balance and coordination, and even correlates to better moods.
Drink plenty of water.
You’ve heard it before, and you’re going to hear it again. If you want to be healthy, you need to drink more water.
Proper hydration is good for all of your organs, including your skin. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, fights hunger, combats fatigue, stops muscle aches, and even makes you look more attractive.
Knowing that it’s good for you to drink more water doesn’t help, though. You need a strategy so that you actually do it.
One of the easiest ways to increase your water intake is to keep a bottle of water in sight and reach at all times. Choose a reusable bottle that you like, whether it’s a branded cup with a straw or a metal thermos.
Like everything on this list, as you begin building the habit, it’s going to require conscious effort to make the change, and that’s not generally easy.
Whether it’s easy or not, though, it is worth it.
Clean out your fridge.
If the image that just popped into your mind is a Tupperware container filled with something fuzzy and vaguely green, you know you need to clean out your fridge.
The trick isn’t cleaning it out, though.
The trick is filling it back up.
Organize your fridge so that the healthiest and easiest foods are at the front of the shelves at eye level. Those will be the first things you see when you open the door to browse for snacks, and when you’re hungry NOW and don’t want to prepare a whole healthy meal, that bag of baby carrots and tub of hummus will look pretty good.
Make the healthiest choices the easiest choices, and you’ll find that you make healthful decisions more often.