It is said at every dental appointment: you need to floss every day. It is one of the most important things that you can do for your teeth, with study after study proving that regular flossing will help protect you from tooth decay and gum disease.
But so many of us don’t floss. At all. Or maybe we do floss, but only once in a while and only when we remember. Bacteria has about 24 hours in our mouth before it starts to harden and become plaque, so every single time we do not floss, we are taking a risk on our oral health.
Most of us remember to brush twice a day. But more of us need to develop healthy flossing habits, where we remember to floss every single day, no matter how busy the day has been or what else is on our minds.
Tips to Get Into a Healthy Flossing Habit
Flossing is the best thing you can do for your teeth. But you need to find a way to remember to floss every day. That means not only wanting to floss, but getting into the *habit* of flossing. Wanting to floss is not enough. It has to be part of your daily routine, and you have to make sure that you perform tricks that keep flossing in the forefront of your mind every day.
In order to create a heathy flossing habit, consider the following:
- Load Up on Floss – One mistake many people make is that they only buy one floss or take the free one from the dentist, use it up (or misplace it, since they’re small), and then forget before buying new floss. Instead, stock up on a lot of floss so that running out is not a problem.
- Don’t Put Floss Away – You shouldn’t put floss in a hidden drawer or out of view. Make sure that you keep your floss somewhere that you always see it, at least until flossing becomes a clear habit.
- Do it Before Brushing – Most people typically floss when they brush their teeth. But they also floss *after* brushing, which makes it too easy to say “It’s late, I brushed, so I’ll do it tomorrow.” Flossing should come before you brush, so that you have make yourself floss first every time.
- Combine it With Other Habits – You already have daily habits, like drinking coffee, going for a daytime walk, etc. Combine flossing with one of those habits, so that the two are associated. Ideally, you combine it with your daily brushing habit, but if you find yourself struggling to keep up with it when you brush, then find another habit you have and combine it with that instead.
- Turn Flossing Into Fun – Many people do not like flossing at first, which is why they quit. So, in order to stop focusing on the flossing, do something fun while you floss. For example, you can watch a show on your phone or turn on a podcast. This makes flossing fun and distracts you from any initial discomfort.
- Keep a Flossing Journal – One way to create a habit is to keep yourself accountable for that habit. Some type of calendar or journal that you have to mark every time you floss is a good way to give yourself that accountability.
It’s also okay to start slow. You need to develop the habit, so flossing in between only a few teeth at first just to get into a groove before moving on to your entire mouth is reasonable provided you try to add a few teeth every day. What matters is making flossing a normal, everyday activity. Once it’s a habit, you’ll be flossing every day and be taking better care of your teeth and gums.
It takes time to turn a task like flossing into a daily habit. But if you work on it regularly, flossing will become a regular part of your life. Contact Live Oak Dental Group today if you want a clean teeth and gums, in addition to your flossing.