If My 21-Month-Old Can Floss – So Can You!

March 18, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — roselleparkdental @ 6:42 pm

The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day to help prevent cavities and gum disease. Cleaning between your teeth, helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.

We all know we should floss every day! But that doesn’t mean we are actually doing so. According to a recent study, nearly a third of Americans never floss their teeth.  So what gives???

In order to successfully start flossing your teeth on a daily basis, you have to make it a habit. Here are ten great tips to help establish a new flossing routine.

  1. Know the Consequences of NOT Doing It. Understanding the scary outcome of failing to floss will give you some serious motivation to do so. Bleeding Gums, Tartar Buildup, Bad Breath, Premature Tooth Loss, Tooth Discoloration, and Cavities are just a few! The list goes on and on …
  2. Find a Flossing Friend. It should not be hard to find a friend to make the change along with you. Having someone else to hold you accountable will keep you motivated as well. Make a pact to text a picture of yourself flossing each day!
  3. Make a Month Long Commitment. Telling yourself you have to do something for 30 days seems a lot more manageable than “FOREVER”.  However, in reality, three to four weeks is more than enough time to establish a new habit.
  4. Put it in Writing. Doing so will clearly define what your plan is and keep you focused on success.
  5. Do it Every Day. It is harder to establish a habit from a behavior you only do a few days a week, than to create a daily habit. Moreover, it is recommended that you floss EVERY day.
  6. And Be Consistent. Consistency is key to make a behavior stick. Flossing at the same time and in the same place every day will create cues for your mind and body to start initiating the behavior almost automatically.
  7. Form a Trigger. Similarly creating a ritual you perform right before you floss, such as humming the same song as you brush your teeth or winking at yourself in the mirror before you take out the floss will create an autopilot over time.
  8. Give Yourself Friendly Reminders. So you don’t forget to floss when you are rushing or tired in the beginning, write a note and stick it to the bathroom mirror or set yourself a daily timer on your phone.
  9. Take it One Day at a Time. Rome was not built in a day. Give yourself time to establish a new daily flossing habit. If you forget one day, just try to remember to do it the next day.
  10. If At First You Don’t Succeed … Try Try Again. Your first attempt may not be successful. You may floss for a few days in a row and then forget for a few days. But don’t throw in the towel! Just shake it off – tell yourself you are going to start again – and know that it may take a few tries but you WILL be successful in the end! And your teeth, gums, and DENTIST will thank you for it!