Brush your teeth and check your blood glucose

Glucose meter in my bathroom next to toothpaste
Disclaimer:

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Building on top of existing habits is a great way to form a new habit.  A habit is something you don’t have to think about doing.  You just do it.  As a person with diabetes, testing my blood glucose has become a habit.  Recently, I’ve paired it with brushing my teeth, and it makes my life easier.

When something becomes a habit, it becomes easier to do.  Less work for your brain.  More automatic.  Here’s how to make this an easy habit.

Keep a blood glucose test kit in the bathroom.

I keep a test kit right next to the sink.  It’s right there, near where my toothbrush is.  The items are physically close together.

Buy an extra glucose test kit.  I keep one in my purse and one in the bathroom.  The one in the bathroom shouldn’t be your only kit, since you likely will need to test your glucose at other times as well.

The glucose meter is not usually that expensive.  The glucose test strips are more expensive.  It’s like printer ink.  The manufacturers sell the printer for cheap and charge a lot for the ink.  The test strips are the ink and the meter is the printer.  So, you can probably buy an extra meter that uses the same test strips.  Search online and you may be surprised how cheap the meter is on Amazon or similar shops.

(Side note: I bought the CareTouch Glucose Meter on Amazon and I love it.  The strips are only $20 for 100.)

Warm water for washing teeth and hands!

Washing your hands in warm water is the go-to tip for how to make testing easier. The warm water makes the blood flow easier, so pricking your finger is more often successful!

You may be able to set the lancet to a smaller number if your hands are warm.  It may hurt less and cause less damage.  Hopefully the pre-heated hands will also reduce the need to squeeze your finger and less likely to cause a bruise.

Clean, hot hands!  I don’t know about your house, but in mine, it takes awhile to get warm water out of the faucet.  If you already use warm water for brushing your teeth, then you can take advantage of that warm water at the faucet!  Potential water saver here!

Have test strips ready

Having everything you need to do this activity every day will help the habit to form.  According to habit expert James Clear, on average it takes 66 days to form a habit.

How many test strips should you have in your bathroom?  To really set yourself up for success, 100 strips!   Learn more about forming habits, check out the best selling book Atomic Habits.

Have a CGM?  Calibrate it.

As I write this post, an advertisement from Dexcom CGM comes on TV, and says “no more fingersticks.”   It’s amazing to see these ads on TV…  I love my CGM.  However, even if you have a CGM, that doesn’t really mean no more fingersticks.   Each CGM is different, but most allow for calibration.  “Calibration” means checking your blood glucose with a fingerstick and entering it into the CGM.   Dexcom requires calibration on start up, per their own instructions, and should be calibrated whenever it’s inaccurate.  How would you know it’s inaccurate without doing a fingerstick?

The Freestyle Libre does not currently have the ability for calibration.  From my experience, sometimes it is really accurate and sometimes it’s not.   So, I still recommend daily testing to see if the Libre reading is accurate.

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