This morning routine might look familiar: toothpaste? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Floss? Out of time today, maybe tomorrow! If this happens morning after busy morning, you are not alone.
The Flossing Excuse
Nearly fifty percent of adults forgo flossing for days, weeks, and years on end. Most dentists hear excuses when they ask patients about flossing. Here are some of the more common excuses people use to avoid flossing:
"I don't know how."
If you don't know how to floss, you are in the right place. There is a definite technique to flossing, but anyone can learn how to do it properly.
"I'm not coordinated enough."
A handful of people avoid flossing because of incoordination. Whether you have amputations, hand pain, or are truly uncoordinated, floss holders offer an extraordinary amount of help. Disposable floss holders are Y-shaped and allow for one-handed use.
"I'm too impatient."
Like any oral habit, flossing takes time. Your impatience will subside once you've developed a flossing habit.
"I never see or feel any food between my teeth."
While flossing does remove food particles, it removes something even worse: plaque. Plaque causes inflamed gums, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Whether you have food between your teeth or not, flossing dramatically improves oral health.
Some of us don't have time, others don't like the hassle, and a few select people actually forget to floss. Don't let your teeth fall victim to neglect-grab some floss and get to work.
The Floss Selection
Are you using the right floss for your teeth? There is no "one floss fits all" in the dental marketplace—find the perfect floss for your specific teeth.
Wax on or wax off?
It's up to you to decide whether you want waxed or unwaxed floss. People with sensitive enamel prefer unwaxed floss, whereas people with strong gums choose waxed.
Wide or narrow?
If there are spaces between your teeth, wide floss is ideal. If your teeth fit together and leave no space, narrow floss is the best option.
Tasty or tasteless? Depending on your taste buds' preferences, flavoured floss is a nice incentive to becoming a regular flosser. For an extra nudge during your morning routine, choose mint, cinnamon, or citrus-flavoured floss. If you don't like strong flavours, tasteless floss is an option.
The Flossing Technique
Not only does regular flossing remove plaque and food particles, it strengthens your gums and wards off tooth decay. Ready to floss? Here's how:
Tear off roughly 15 to 20 inches of floss and wind the floss around your middle fingers.
Hold the floss between your thumb and index fingers and gently slide it up and down between your teeth.
Curve the floss around the base of each tooth (go beneath the gum line). Don't snap or force the floss-it might damage your gum tissue.
Find clean sections of floss with each tooth; it is not effective to use the same dirtied section with each tooth.
When removing floss, use back-and-forth motions to bring floss away from your teeth.
The Flossing Habit
When it comes to oral health, good habits can be life changing. If you want teeth that shine for years to come, try these steps to develop a daily flossing routine:
Know you want it.
You wouldn't be thinking about flossing unless you knew it was important. Give yourself a flossing pep talk every morning to remind yourself why you're spending the time to floss.
Make a list of benefits.
How will regular flossing benefit your life? Start by listing the obvious benefits: stops gum bleeding, minimizes bad breath, and prevents tooth loss. Once you've exhausted all of the obvious benefits, think about how regular flossing will improve your life: boosts self-confidence, enhances smile, and saves money.
Commit to the habit.
Commitment is key in habit forming. Once you've decided why you want to floss daily, commit to it.
Set goals, reward yourself.
Most dentists recommend flossing daily. If you decide to floss daily, write down your goal or tell someone about it. Once you have flossed daily for a month, reward yourself with a new toothbrush.
Commitment boils down to consistency. If you miss a day, start the next day and renew your commitment to be consistent.
The Flossing Advantage
There's no if's, and's, or but's about it: if you want healthy teeth, you've got to floss, floss, and floss some more. Stop making excuses and start spending the time to find the right floss and learn the proper technique. Don't worry about forming a life-long habit the day you start. Take flossing day by day-healthier, plaque-free teeth will give you something to smile about.