Flossing is an important part of any at-home oral hygiene routine. But it’s also a source of anxiety, pain, and even shame. Instead of dreading the inevitable “floss talk” from your dentist, try these tricks to get in the habit of flossing regularly. Your smile will thank you!
Find Tools That Work for You
First, finding the right tools is essential. String floss is the oldest tool for flossing, but many find it cumbersome and simply uncomfortable. Patients who avoid string floss might complain about sticking their fingers in their mouth, not being able to reach their back teeth, or discomfort when wrapping the floss around their fingers. Such patients may find flossers to be the key to a good flossing routine.
Flossers are tools that allow you to extend your reach without wrapping floss around your fingers or sticking your fingers in your mouth. They are often one-handed tools, so if you like to multitask, you’ll be able to use your free hand for other tasks. There are a few options to consider when looking for a flosser, including the following:
- Reusable flosser with head replacements.
- Single-use flossers.
- Water flossers.
The first two still use string floss, but the tool holds it so you don’t have to. Since you use the same portion of string repeatedly, it’s important to rinse it off after every tooth gap so you don’t just transfer any removed residue to other teeth.
The single-use flossers are great to stow in the car, desk drawer, or purse for when you’re not at home. Many patients have them on hand even if they use other flossing methods at home; you never know when the urge to floss will hit!
Water flossers are becoming a popular tool for at-home flossing because of how easy to use they are and how gentle they are on teeth and gums. This type of flosser uses a stream of water to remove plaque and food particles. Because you don’t need to guide string between your teeth, water flossers make it much easier to clean around braces or permanent bridges.
Build Good Habits
Once you have your preferred flossing tool, it’s time to establish that habit that will make not flossing feel as weird as flossing feels now.
Consistency is key in creating new habits. Here are a few ideas for staying consistent:
- Make it easy. Keep your flossing tools next to your toothbrush or paste. Pairing the two activities can help you incorporate flossing in your existing oral health routine.
- Get something out of it. Keep your favorite flavor of floss on hand so you enjoy using it. Or if you go the one-handed flosser route, watch your favorite music video or play a level of your favorite mobile game while you floss. Just make sure you’re not too distracted to get a thorough floss in.
- Stay accountable. Mark the day on a calendar whenever you floss. A visual reminder of how you’ve done so far can help you push yourself to do better or keep it up!
Even with a good routine, there will be times when you just don’t feel like flossing. Just remember why you do it: clean teeth mean a cleaner smile, better breath, and fewer trips to the dentist for costly procedures.
With these tips, we’re confident you’ll build good flossing habits. Let us know if these tips work for you, or if you used any others as well!