The best way to stick to a resolution, especially if it’s one you aren’t exactly excited about, is to make it a habit. If you’re trying to stick to your pledge to visit the gym more often in the New Year, start keeping workout clothes in your car or your locker at the gym. That way, you’ll be less likely to go home to change after work, sink into your recliner, and remain there for the rest of the evening. Or to make an excuse like: “I don’t have any clean gear.”
Like most dental professionals, we’re used to hearing excuses at Biggers Family Dentistry. Many involve flossing, an aspect of oral hygiene that too often gets neglected.
Not flossing is pretty common, based on a recent study from the American Dental Association. According to the study, about 32 percent of adults in the U.S. admit they never floss their teeth, while another 37 percent say they floss less than daily.
We get it; flossing isn’t exactly fun. Still, daily flossing is a dental best practice recommended by the ADA and the American Academy of Periodontology. It helps prevent cavities and gum disease and boosts your overall oral health. It can even help your breath smell better by removing bacteria from your mouth!
That’s why it’s important to make flossing a habit. And we’ve got six ways to help you do it. If you’ve got questions about our advice or anything else, just give us a call at 804-621-2199.
Learn How to Floss Your Teeth
The best way to make flossing a habit is to become a boss at it. Many of our patients tell us they struggle with proper flossing technique. Our team of dental hygienists is happy to show you how to floss. If you’d like a tutorial, just ask!
You’ll also find many “how-to” videos online, including a good one from the ADA. Until you master the technique (which won’t take long with practice), it may help to look in a mirror as you floss.
Use the Right Floss
Some people have trouble working floss between their teeth. If this is you, we recommend trying waxed floss or glide floss, both of which should be easier to manipulate between your teeth. If you’ve got braces, a dental bridge, or other dental fixture that makes it a bit difficult to floss, a tool called a floss threader can really help Again, you’ll find videos online that show how to use one. Or ask us to show you when your visit our Midlothian, VA dentist office!
Treat Your Floss Right
It’s easier to make flossing a habit if it doesn’t get torn up when you use it. To keep floss intact, use a lighter touch and don’t “saw” between your teeth with it. If your floss still shreds, you may have a problem that needs attention like a loose filling or a broken crown. Call us for an appointment so we can check it out.
Another tip: try a single filament (PTFE) floss. Single filament floss is a bit more expensive than multifilament floss made of nylon, but it almost never shreds. You can find out what your floss is made of by reading the package.
Try a Flossing Aid
Some of just have trouble winding floss around your fingers. There are lots of tools that make it easier to hold floss or even offer alternative approaches to cleaning between your teeth. For example, proxy brushes are small brushes with tiny bristles that fit in between your teeth. We’re happy to answer any questions about these tools during your next visit to our office.
Among tools you can try:
- Floss loops
- Floss picks
- Soft picks
- Dental picks
- Proxy brushes
- Interdental cleaners
- Water flossers like Waterpik
Remind Yourself to Floss
Keep your floss where you can see it, maybe next to your toothbrush. You may also want to keep floss in other places where you often have a spare few minutes, like in your desk at work or in your car. So when traffic slows to a crawl, you can practice good oral hygiene!
Stick With It
Your gums may bleed at first, especially if you haven’t been flossing regularly. Beeding should stop within a few weeks. If it doesn’t, you could have gum (periodontal) disease. It is common and is also the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. So it’s a good idea to visit our Midlothian, VA dentist office for an exam. We can treat gum disease with a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing.