Dentists have known for years that regular flossing can help prevent tooth decay, improve oral health, and even make breath fresher and cleaner. But understanding the benefits of flossing and actually getting people to floss are two different things.
Many people are resistant to flossing because it’s time consuming, embarrassing to do in public, and at first can even cause very minor gum bleeding. Yet convincing patients to floss regularly is one of the top goals of most dental professionals. Here are some tips for making flossing a part of your daily routine.
Time and Place
Behavioral experts tell us that it takes about 28 days to create a normal routine. So if you can make an effort to floss daily for the first month, it can become a lifelong healthy habit.
One of the best tips is to set a specific time and place to floss every day, such as right before bed or first thing in the morning (of both) in the home bathroom you usually use to get ready. Keep floss handy, even placing it next to your toothbrush and toothpaste to remind you to use it.
Another great option is to give yourself reminders to floss, such as setting an alarm on your phone or even leaving yourself a little Post-It note by your bathroom sink.
Embrace the Benefits
Give yourself a reason for flossing every day, such as understanding and appreciating the benefits: Flossing today can help make your teeth healthier in the future and give you fresher breath every day. You can even give yourself little rewards for remembering to floss, such as allowing yourself to sleep in an extra five minutes in the morning or treating yourself to a new magazine or book on your way to work.
Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to promote healthy habits. And once you make flossing part of your normal routine, you can enjoy improved oral health for the rest of your life.