As someone once said, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep.” But flossing is about much more than oral health. While flossing is a simple activity that only takes a minute, it’s a habit that many people find challenging to implement.
The bacteria in your mouth are a cause of heart valve damage and general inflammation throughout the body. That’s why the dentist prescribes antibiotics before any significant dental procedures. It’s to protect your heart!
Since it’s so important to your health, it’s worth the effort to make flossing a permanent part of your oral hygiene routine.
These are the steps to make it happen:
1. Determine when you’ll floss. This is the easiest part. The only time that really makes sense is immediately before or after you brush your teeth. So, your toothbrush serves as the trigger point.
2. Have visual reminder, too. Just in case your trigger point doesn’t remind you to floss, it’s good to have a backup reminder. Put a note on the bathroom mirror or put the floss out where you have to see it.
3. Start with just one tooth. It sounds silly, but it works. The thought of flossing all of your teeth might seem like too much work, but flossing one tooth is so simple and easy that you’ll just do it.
Over the course of a few days, add in your other teeth one or two at a time.
You’ll find that if you can just do one tooth, you’re likely to keep on going and do them all.
4. Try to enjoy it. If you focus on the fact that it’s boring or annoying, you’re going to be miserable for 60 seconds. But you can choose to focus on how you’re getting your teeth nice and clean and doing something important for your health.
A simple task that has so many benefits becomes easy to enjoy.
5. Mark your calendar. Put a big X on the calendar every time you remember to floss.
6. Remember that you’re setting an example for your kids. Of course, you want them to floss. Remember that they’re always watching you. If you’re not modeling flossing, they’re not going to floss either.
7. Educate yourself about all the health benefits. Do a quick search online and educate yourself about all the health benefits of flossing. You’ll be amazed.
8. Assume the worst will happen if you fail to floss. While it’s always preferable to feel compelled to perform an action for the benefits, sometimes using pain or a negative image can be a stronger motivator.
If you can’t seem to get into the flossing habit, consider visualizing the worst that could happen if you’re not flossing. Imagine your teeth turning brown and falling out. Think how others might be uncomfortable and repelled by your appearance.
Now imagine flossing your teeth and having nice, clean, white teeth.
9. Hang in there. It will take about 30 consecutive days of flossing to build the habit and keep it. You simply have to be diligent and floss every day, even if you’re not feeling like it. It’s only a minute of your time. You can do it!
That’s all there is to it. In a few short weeks, you can be flossing every day and doing something wonderful for your teeth and your overall health. Something simple, like flossing, can be a powerful springboard to developing other worthwhile health habits, too.
By showing yourself that you can floss every day, you’ll begin to believe that you can control other aspects of your behavior. Flossing is a simple task that can have profound, positive effects. Make the effort and you won’t regret it!