We all know that flossing should be included as part of our daily oral hygiene routine, but many of us forgo it out of laziness or forgetfulness. A 2017 survey conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) and Waterpik, revealed that just 16% of adults flossed daily and 20% only when they need to remove food stuck in their teeth. Ahem, and 44% of the survey participants admitted to over exaggerating to their dentists about their flossing habits.
We’re on to you, patients!
Just kidding. Monroe Family Dentistry is here to help you make flossing a habit.
Why Don’t We Floss Regularly?
Patients come up with a multitude of excuses for not flossing regularly. It’s important to make flossing a habit because not doing so can cause periodontal disease, tooth decay, bad breath, and more. All it takes is a change of mindset, a few easy adjustments, and you’ll be flossing regularly in no time.
Here are a few common reasons patients say they don’t floss, and we provide solutions to make sure there is no more excuse.
It takes too much time. Flossing doesn’t take long at all, despite time being the biggest excuse among 55% of survey participants. The ADA only requires that you floss your teeth once per day to maintain good oral health. You already brush your teeth twice a day, so just add on a few minutes before your tooth brushing routine at night to floss.
We often suggest that patients floss while they’re watching TV during a commercial break. Some need triggers to start creating a habit. As an example, floss your teeth after putting toothpaste on your toothbrush. This will help remind you that you have a different activity you need to incorporate into your oral care routine.
Forgetfulness. Keep your floss and toothbrush right next to each other at the sink so you can’t possibly forget to floss.
Some of us can’t easily reach our back teeth. If this is the case, talk to us about it at your next appointment. Our dental hygienist or Dr. Monroe will be happy to show you how to reach the back of your mouth more easily. Floss holders, available at any drug store, are perfect tools for those who have trouble reaching toward back of their mouth.
What kind of dental floss do I use?
This depends on your preferences and shape of teeth. There are two types of floss to choose from:
- Single filament (PTFE).
Nylon floss is probably what you recognize most. It comes in waxed and non-waxed forms, as well as in a variety of flavors, like mint and cinnamon. It can shred more easily because it is composed of different strands of nylon.
PTFE floss costs a bit more than nylon floss, slides easily between teeth, and essentially shred-resistant. Either type of floss works well. We just recommend that you look for the ADA seal of approval on whichever floss you choose.
I can’t fit the floss in between my teeth. Then you are a great candidate for the PTFE floss mentioned above.
Flossing causes bleeding gums. For those just incorporating flossing into their daily oral care routine, it’s highly likely that your gums will bleed for a week or two. The reason this happens is that your gums are inflamed from all the bacteria that has been stuck in between your teeth and gums. Removing the plaque irritates them in the beginning, causing the bleeding.
Additionally, some of us simply floss too forcefully. Be gentle cleaning between your teeth, moving is slowly up and down.
Tips for Flossing Correctly
Take an 18-inch piece of floss and wrap either end around your middle fingers (not too tightly though, otherwise you’ll cut off circulation), leaving an inch or two to work with.
- Grasp the floss between your thumb and forefinger and guide it between your teeth using and up and down motion.
- While holding the floss firmly against each tooth, make a “C” shape to curve gently below the gum line.
- Use fresh sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
Flossing doesn’t have to be a drag, and quite honestly, your teeth can’t afford for you to think that way.
Pediatric Dentist in Monroe NC
Monroe Family Dentistry is there for you and your children from day one and we are happy to work with you and your child to start habits from birth. If you live near Monroe, NC call us to schedule an appointment today at 704.776.4278.