Flossing. It’s as important a part of your oral health maintenance as brushing. Flossing your teeth daily helps prevent tooth decay, gum recession, and costly dental bills. You know you should do it, and sometimes you actually do. But for some reason, you just can’t get into the habit of flossing your teeth every day.
You’re not alone. Surveys show that upwards of 27% of adults admit to lying to their dentists about how often they floss. Dentists say, based on what they see in the dental chair, that number should be much higher.
Yes…your dentist knows when you haven’t been flossing. The evidence shows between your teeth and in your gums!
It’s time to get in the habit of flossing your teeth every day. But don’t just do it to make your dentist happy. Do it to save yourself the pain and cost of future dental problems. Here are four tips for how to get in the habit of flossing.
Attach it to an already-established routine
You already brush your teeth twice a day. Adding another step to, say, your evening brushing routine, will help the habit stick sooner than it might otherwise. But you don’t have to floss when you brush your teeth. Maybe you want to try flossing while you watch the nightly news. It doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as you do it at least once a day.
Use a visual reminder
Until a habit is a habit, it can be easy to forget. A visual reminder will help you remember. Try a sticky note near your toothbrush. Or use a smartphone app like Brush DJ, which allows you to set an alert to help you remember to floss.
This might sound silly, but if you start by flossing just one tooth on the first day, it can help you get over the resistance and begin to establish the habit. Many people have an aversion to flossing that’s more psychological than anything. It’s as if they repeat, “I hate flossing. I hate flossing,” over and over again in their heads. So, of course they resist it! But promising to floss just that one tooth on the first day isn’t so daunting. On day two, try two teeth, and so on. Once you get the feel of cleanliness between those couple of teeth, we’re guessing you’ll want to feel that all between all your teeth.
Mark a smiley face on the calendar for every day you floss. Or put a gold star on the bathroom mirror. Seeing those marks add up will give you a sense of accomplishment. If you want, treat yourself to something small (maybe a movie?) every time you achieve 10 smiley faces in a row. The real reward, though, will be a clean bill of oral health on your next visit to the dentist.
Town Center Dentistry is here to help
At Town Center Dentistry, we know it can be challenging to get in the habit of flossing. Let us know if you need help with technique or recommendations for flossing products. We’re happy to do anything we can to help get you in the habit of flossing your teeth every day.