For most people, brushing their teeth for the recommended twice a day is pretty simple and the habit itself is easy to stick to. So why is adding in flossing so difficult to do for so many? Unlike brushing your teeth after sliding your tongue across and feeling the “fuzzy” texture, the benefits of flossing aren’t as immediately obvious.
Get in the flossing habit with these tips:
Don’t Start With Once-a-Day Pressure
Of course, your end-game for flossing should be doing it once a day. But when learning any new habit, it can put too much pressure on yourself, which ultimately leads to failure and giving up. Instead, make a goal to floss two or three times a week. You’ll floss every few days, and then start getting into a rhythm of the habit itself. Once your new habit begins to take on a second nature, flossing will soon be easier to incorporate into your daily routine.
Keep Floss Everywhere
The most helpful thing you can do to remind yourself to floss is to put floss everywhere. In your car, at your desk, and right next to the tv remote. Keeping floss in your sightline and readily available makes it convenient to grab and floss while watching your nightly show, or while you’re stuck in traffic.
Invest in Fun Flossing Gadgets
Most people don’t enjoy spiraling a thin piece of floss around their fingers while digging in their mouth for hidden plaque and food particles left behind. Try getting some innovative gadgets to get you into a new flossing routine. Add in a Waterpik to make flossing easier, especially for those who have a hard time reaching certain areas of the mouth where plaque tends to linger and cause cavities.
Write Yourself Reminders
Signaling yourself to remember by placing post-it notes on your bathroom mirror will help you to remember to floss each night before you brush your teeth. Even better, see the note at the end of the day after you already flossed from one of the many flosses you placed throughout your day will give you a sense of accomplishment in knowing your techniques are working.
Setting An Alarm
It may seem like an obvious thing to set a reminder on your phone to floss at a certain time every day, but these little alarms can be a helpful reminder and a great way to have your technology working for you to make your life easier.
Attach the New Habit to an Existing One
Attaching a new habit to an existing one is a great way to encourage yourself to build a new routine. Find habits that are convenient for you to associate flossing with, like brushing your teeth or getting out of the shower.
A little bribery can go a long way, even when you’re bribing yourself. Put out two money jars – one with coins and one without in the bathroom next to the floss. Each time you floss, move a coin into the reward jar and put the funds towards a big purchase once you’ve transferred them all over.
Forming Habits Take Time
Experts say it takes 21 consecutive days to form a habit that sticks. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to go from not flossing at all, to flossing every day. We encourage our patients to stay positive about your attempts to start brushing and flossing every day, even if you miss a day. Just remember to pick it back up, and don’t let one missed day derail your plans of forming the new habit!
Looking for more tips on how to incorporate flossing into your daily oral hygiene routine? Ask Hinsdale Dentistry for other tips and tricks we’ve learned from personal experience and from our other patients at your next appointment.