Make Flossing a Habit: 4 Tips to Floss More Frequently

Make Flossing a Habit: 4 Tips to Floss More Frequently
Posted on 12/15/2016
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You've long understood the benefits of flossing: healthy gums, fresher breath, and fewer cavities, to name a few. You even encourage your children to floss whenever they brush their teeth.

Yet, despite your knowledge and reminders to your children, you struggle to floss regularly. And when your dentist asks if you've been flossing, you feel a little guilty for your negative answer.

But don't worry. You're not the only one to skip flossing.

According to a Harris Poll survey, approximately 25% of American adults lie about flossing their teeth, and 36% of adults would rather wash dishes, clean a toilet, or wait in a checkout line than pull that string along their gum line. Additionally, 20% of adults refuse to floss their teeth at all.

 

Fortunately, you can break the cycle and impress your dentist when you make flossing a part of your everyday routine. If you need a little help establishing the habit, try the following tips and tricks.

1. Set a Reminder on Your Phone

Your smartphone can help you do just about anything, from checking your email to recording a video to setting home alarms. And if you're like most American adults, you may spend a whopping 4.7 hours a day interacting with your device.

Why not spend a few seconds of that time setting a reminder to floss? Determine the best time for you to floss, create an alarm, and set it to repeat daily (or twice daily). If you want to go the extra mile, download a helpful app such as Text2Floss or Floss: Your Habit Coach.

If you don't have a smartphone, create your own visual reminders and place them in your bathroom. A sticky note on the mirror or an eye-catching wall hanging could be just what you need to remember to floss.

2. Stash Floss in Your Purse or Car

On some mornings, you may feel too busy to brush your teeth, let alone floss them. Amidst all the work meetings, errands, and caring for your children, you may feel lucky if you can chew on sugar-free gum to fight cavities.

However, you don't need to dedicate a few extra minutes in the bathroom to floss. In fact, you don't even need access to a mirror or sink to give your teeth a thorough cleaning.

Simply stash some floss in your pocket, purse, or car, and carry the floss with you wherever you go. When you have a minute of downtime between soccer practice and ballet, grab the floss and give your teeth the care they deserve.

3. Reward Yourself for Flossing

When you grudgingly approach flossing as a time-consuming chore, you'll look for excuses to not perform the task. You may reason that you don't have the time to floss, that food doesn't stick between your teeth, or that your teeth are too close to floss.

But flossing can be a rewarding experience, literally. When you make a goal to floss regularly and stick to it, feel free to reward yourself for your good behavior. For each day you floss, let yourself indulge in an extra episode of your favorite TV show or set aside loose change to buy new shoes. Mark the days you floss on a calendar, and when you've totaled 30 days, treat yourself to a day at the spa or a concert in the park.

As you associate flossing with positive experiences, you may find yourself enjoying your new oral routine rather than dreading it.

4. Address Underlying Concerns

Underlying conditions can make flossing downright unpleasant, despite your positive mindset and regular rewards. If you find certain obstacles consistently prevent you from flossing, address your concerns head-on so you can move forward with your healthy habit.

For example, if you dislike flossing because your gums feel sore, consider your flossing technique. You may need to floss more gently or take extra care to not snap or force the floss through your teeth. Or, if you struggle to floss due to muscle weakness, try a flossing stick for a one-hand approach. Should you dislike flossing because of crooked teeth, you may wish to try a floss threader or waxed floss for an easier fit.

Once you understand the reason behind why you avoid flossing, you can take steps to solve the problem quickly and feel more comfortable flossing.

Impress Your Dentist With Your New Healthy Habit

Although healthy habits may take some time to establish, you can use the above tips and tricks to make flossing a breeze. Once you floss on a regular basis, you might soon enjoy massaging your gums and fighting cavities. And if your children see how much you enjoy flossing, they may pick up the habit, too.

However, if you find flossing painful even after regular use, talk to your dentist about your dental health. Your dentist can assess your technique and recommend the best way to floss without hurting your gums, and you can pass this technique to your kids.

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Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

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