We all know that flossing is important and that it needs to be done at least once a day. Flossing cleans areas of your teeth that the toothbrush cannot reach. This helps prevent cavities and gum issues. That being said, even the most conscientious patients come to their dental cleanings anxiously awaiting the hygienist’s lecture about daily flossing. So how does one make a habit of flossing? How can you turn your sporadic flossing into daily flossing?
As with making any action a habit you need to establish a simple and obvious cue, followed by rewarding yourself for following through with it. The problem with flossing is there is no instant gratification, no clearly defined reward. It is unfortunate that our brains are not hardwired to develop habits that will benefit our health months or even years later. Therefore, we need to trick your brain into making flossing an effortless routine, as you would with taking a shower or washing hands.
These easy steps will help make daily flossing a permanent habit:
Create a cue: take a blank Post-it and stick it on the bathroom mirror. You don’t have to write something like “floss!” on it. The Post-it itself will serve as a cue to remind yourself to floss, until you get into the habit.
Make it easy: keep floss stashed everywhere. Keep one on your nightstand, one in your car, one in your gym bag, and anywhere else you can think of! Flossing doesn’t just have to be done at night before bed. By making floss available whenever and wherever, you will be more inclined to floss whenever the thought of flossing strikes!
Take the pressure off: don’t try to start flossing every day in the beginning. Start with flossing once a week, and then twice a week, until you build up to flossing everyday. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up altogether. Pretty soon you will start to “crave” flossing every day and the day will come sooner than you think.
Here at Tremont Dental Care in the South End of Boston we know starting a new dental hygiene routine can be intimidating but we are here to help you feel comfortable and to see results quickly. Call us with any questions or use our Online Consultant or request an appointment today!