As your Mississauga dentist and dental team we always aim to provide you with information that can help improve your oral health. There are various trends that occur in the dental world but one that has remained consistent is how flossing is a habit that the majority of the population does not like or do.
“Do you floss everyday?” This is the dreaded question most patients dislike answering because the answer is often – you guessed it…NO. So wouldn’t it be nice to answer this question truthfully with a yes at your next appointment? Not only will your dental hygienist be happy, your gums will thank you too!
Tip #1 – What is it that you don’t like about flossing???
First and foremost you need to know what it is about flossing that you don’t like. After over 25 years in dentistry these are the answers I’ve received from patients. Most people don’t like flossing because they get stuff on their hands or they don’t like how the floss feels wrapped around their fingers. And although flossing may seem simple it isn’t. Some people just don’t have the dexterity to do it. Whatever it may be that may prevent you from flossing there should be a way to help get you over this obstacle.
Tip #2 – Get floss you like or clean between your teeth with a tool you can use easily
If you have the dexterity to floss but don’t like the gunk on your hands then perhaps flossing in the shower is a good solution for you. While your conditioner is setting in you can grab your spool of floss and give your teeth a good flossing. You won’t have to worry about dirty hands if you’re in the shower already. If you don’t have the dexterity to floss perhaps a water flosser is an option for you. Water flossers are great for removal of debris. It utilizes light water pressure to flush out debris and bacteria which may be harmful to your teeth and gums. If flossing is difficult because the floss shreds or is too thin, perhaps changing your floss to one that is better for your teeth may be a good idea. There are many options of floss available. If you need help select floss or an interdental cleaner our dental team can help at your next hygiene visit.
Tip #3 – Habit formation to achieve a goal
Developing a habit or routine isn’t always easy. Did you know that it takes a person an average of 66 days to make a habit automatic? As soon as you leave the dental office people will often go home and floss for a week or so then call it quits. Making it a habit isn’t as easy as just doing it because formation of a habit requires learning, repetition and development of a habit to reach a goal. We don’t want to deter you from developing a habit so our recommendation is that you start with flossing 2x a week then increasing it gradually by adding another day and so on until you are flossing daily and then maintaining this for at least 66 days to form an automatic habit. Hopefully after the 66 days it will be something that you’ll just do naturally.
Tip #4 – Set reminders and make it a goal
If you’re a busy person and just can’t remember to include flossing in your daily routine OR if you enjoy your apps and reminders then set a reminder for yourself on your phone’s calendar. Writing it down as part of a to do for the day will give you that sense of achievement once you’ve crossed it off your list for you daily to do’s. You don’t necessarily have to floss when you brush but if you do we recommend you floss first and get all of the debris out before you brush.
Tip #5 – Make it part of an existing daily routine
If you brush daily, flossing can be incorporated into your daily routine by having the mindset that flossing is an adjunct to improving your health. If you are going to include it when you shower then it’s part of this routine. If you decide you want to include it in your brushing routine then it’s best to do it before bed and it becomes part of your brushing routine. Whatever it may be, developing an association of this with another daily routine is important so that it automatically becomes a habit.
As your Mississauga dentist we hope that these tips will help you floss with more confidence and develop positive oral health care habits. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to speak to one of our team members at 905-278-4297 and we look forward to seeing you at your next hygiene visit!!!