We always ask – “How is the brushing and flossing going?” Most of the patients we see in the office brush at least once and sometimes twice a day… but when it comes to the question of flossing, not all our patients can answer with the same exuberance.
Just about everyone knows that flossing is the most effective way to clean between teeth. Brushing and flossing together remove the plaque that causes tooth decay—and the between-the-teeth cleaning is especially important. Most cavities actually start on the side.
Despite the fact that it is not a popular activity, flossing is easy and can be added into the regular dental routine. Here are some tips for integrating flossing into you every-day-routine.
1. Reward Yourself – New habits are easier to integrate when there is something to be gained from it. Try allowing yourself something you like – such as 5 minutes extra of TV before bed while you are flossing!
2. Track Yourself – One of our patients shared a clever trick with us that she used to remember to floss each night: On Sunday, she put 7 pennies in a dish on the left side of her sink and an empty dish on the right. Each night after flossing she moved one penny over until the right dish was full. Then the next Sunday she switched the dishes and started over again. This simple act is a cognitive trick to recall and track, while making flossing a regular habit.
3. Leave Your Floss Front and Center – Out of sight is out of mind. After using your floss each night, put it IN the sink. You will have to pick it up each time you wash your hands, and each time your brush. In this way you make it impossible to ignore!
Regular dental cleanings also fight tooth decay and gum disease. So, keep up the good work with the brushing—add in the daily flossing and come see us here at the office every 6 months!