Every dentist, every dental hygienist, and every dental scientist, will tell you how important it is to floss. As a North Salinas dentist, Dr. Cureton recommends all of his patients floss once a day. But while most of us remember to brush our teeth morning and night, only a small percentage of adults (fewer than 1 in 3) and an even smaller percentage of children (fewer than 1 in 7) floss daily.
That’s a problem. While brushing is important, it is actually flossing that is able to remove some of the most damaging foods and bacteria from our teeth and gums. There are even many dentists that will argue that flossing is actually more important than brushing, yet most of us do the latter and completely ignore the former.
Whether you never floss or you floss only once in a while, it’s important to get into the habit of flossing every day. It is the single best thing you can do at home for your teeth.
How to Get Into the Flossing Habit
One thing to note about flossing – for those that never really floss – is that it gets far more comfortable and less painful the more you do it. Your gums strengthen and adapt, so that while you may find flossing difficult at first, it becomes easier and easier with each passing day.
Still, you have to get into the habit. Here is a step by step way to become a daily flosser.
- Buy Lots of Floss – You will want to have a good supply of floss, so that you never have the excuse that you “can’t find it” or have “run out.” Floss is inexpensive and you should have plenty in your home.
- Keep Floss Visible – Floss should be visible at all times. It should be on your bathroom sink in a place you will always see it, and not tucked away in a drawer or hidden under a hair gel. Floss needs to be found.
- Piggyback Another Habit – It’s hard to create a habit. So connect it to a habit you already have. The easiest one is your brushing habit. You only need to floss once a day, so you can do it at the same time you brush at night or in the morning. If you have another daily habit you prefer, that is fine too.
- Do It First – Once you’ve connected it to a habit, floss BEFORE you engage with the other activity. You have to make sure that you can’t feel like you’ll floss later. Flossing should come first, so that you force yourself to do it.
- Make it Fun – You can make flossing fun. For example, you can turn a music video on your phone and floss while you listen to music. Or you can floss during your morning stretches.
- Start Slow – If you are having trouble flossing all your teeth, floss only a few. Then add a few more a few days later. Then add a few more a few days later. Get used to flossing as a habit first.
- Mark Your Progress – Accountability is a big part of creating a new habit. Consider getting a calendar and marking off every time you floss successfully.
That’s it! Creating a habit takes time, but with these simple steps, you can start building a healthy flossing habit that will make your dentist proud. If you’re in need of a North Salinas Dentist to help with your dental care, contact Dr. Cureton today (831) 449-8363.