Flossing is an important oral health habit. It is one of the most important techniques for protecting yourself from gum disease. It can also help you avoid cavities between your teeth. Plus it can help you avoid bad breath and it will help your smile look healthier and more attractive.

Unfortunately, surveys show that about a third of people never floss (and it’s likely that many people are lying about flossing, so it’s probably higher than that). Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you go from a never-flosser to someone who flosses every day.

closeup of a man flossing his teeth

Ask for Help

We understand: not everyone knows how to floss. It’s not an easy skill, and not one that all our parents pass on. If you’re not sure how to properly floss your teeth, we’re happy to help you learn. A quick demonstration can be very helpful in terms of effective and comfortable flossing.

Once you know what to do, it’ll be easier to get yourself to do it–and faster, too.

Try Different Floss

Today, there are many different kinds of dental floss. There’s no reason to stick with a kind of floss that you find hard to use or uncomfortable. And don’t neglect disposable flossers and interdental brushes, both of which can be good cleaning tools for people who have trouble flossing with loose floss.

If none of these work, water flossers–also called irrigators–can be very effective.

Start with a Partial Floss

Flossing all your teeth can be time-consuming. Especially at first when you don’t have good practice. To reduce the time commitment from flossing at first, you can start by just flossing one quarter of your teeth at a time. Keep track of which quarter you flossed yesterday so you don’t miss any and everybody gets their turn.

After a month or so of this, switch to doing one arch of your teeth each night. Then switch to flossing all your teeth every night.

Floss First

Many people find it hard to floss because they’re tired. You’ve had a long day, and you’re getting ready for bed. You just brushed your teeth and you’re ready to get to bed. The last thing you want is to commit to a ritual like flossing.

If this is you, start flossing before you brush. That way, you’re a little fresher and it’s easier to get started flossing.

Motivate Yourself with Images

Many people aren’t motivated to floss in part because they can’t see the damage that not flossing is causing. We can help with that. With our intraoral cameras, we can take close-up pictures of the areas that are affected by your lack of flossing. That can be a powerful motivator.

If you want, we can even print out the picture for you to take home. Looking at that picture can help inspire you to more flossing.

Reward Yourself

But motivation doesn’t all have to be negative. You’re not just trying to avoid gum disease, you’re trying to promote health. So you should give yourself a positive reward structure for becoming a regular flosser.

The rewards might be something small, like maybe a special dessert or eating out when you do a couple weeks of flossing every day. If you become a successful flosser and get your gum disease under control with months of flossing, maybe the reward can be something bigger, like getting a dental implant to replace the tooth or teeth you lost before you became a flosser.

Are You Looking for a Health Partner in River Edge?

Oral health is a team effort. If you’re looking for  dentist who can be the other part of your oral health team, please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment with a dentist at the River Edge Dental.