Flossing is a crucial part of your daily dental hygiene routine. Yet, it is the step that the average American is the most likely to skip. In fact, a recent American Dental Associationsurvey revealed that only 16% of Americans claimed that they flossed on a daily basis, with the remaining 84% of participants admitting that their normal habits ranged from irregular flossing to never flossing at all.
When asked why they don’t floss, 55% of the participants reported that flossing is too time consuming. If you fall into this category and remembering isn’t an issue, then the American Dental Association suggests that you opt for an alternative interdental cleaner, like a water-Pik. These tools are just as effective at cleaning in between teeth and along the gum line, but they are able to do so in a fraction of the time. For everyone else, who simply forgets, here are some tried and true tips.
- Give Yourself a Cue
Ask the Dentist encourages those who have trouble remembering to floss to give themselves a cue. One popular example is a blank post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Make sure it is bright and visible. Seeing it should remind you to floss. Alternatives to the sticky note can range from putting your floss on top of your phone to using the age-old ribbon around the finger trick.
- Floss Before Brushing
For whatever reason, most of us are much better at remembering to brush, so try switching up your morning routine by flossing first. Just remember to rinse your mouth out after flossing even if you are about to brush. You don’t want to ingest any of the bacteria you just set free from between your teeth.
- Hide Floss Everywhere
Another great tip from Ask the Dentist is to keep floss stashed everywhere. The little disposable flossers can be easily stored in your wallet for on the go flossing options. Not only will they allow you the opportunity to floss later when you realize you’ve forgotten, but they will give you a far superior alternative to all of the weird things the American Dental Association found that people use when they don’t have access to floss.
- Set Reminders
In the digital age there are a myriad of tools you can use to remind yourself that you need to floss. You can use your calendar, an alarm, an in-home digital assistant, or even The Mighty Mouth’s text-based reminder program. Set them to go off around the time you would be waking up each morning and make sure you floss immediately to avoid letting the reminder slip.
- Set Realistic Goals
Most people can’t change over-night, so don’t push yourself to make a rapid change. If you haven’t been flossing regularly then the first few times can be painful and bloody. It’s completely acceptable to give your gums a few days of rest in between as you try to build new habits. Starting with once a week can gradually adjust to flossing every day as you become more comfortable.
Flossing and Oral Health
The honest truth is that brushing alone neglects a lot of the nooks and crannies that naturally occur in your mouth. Flossing is a straight forward solution that increases the health of your mouth’s natural, bacterial environment and reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. However, it can be time consuming and awkward if you aren’t used to doing it on a daily basis. Use these five tips to help get you started and talk to the experts at the O.C. Dental Specialists for more ideas about how you can help to maintain your oral health.