Flossing Once A Day: How To Build The Habit

Dr. Maya holding floss

How to Make Flossing a Daily Habit

Are you an all-star when it comes to brushing your teeth but a rookie on the flossing front?

Brushing our teeth is a straightforward, instantly rewarding task, a morning-evening routine that makes our mouths feel clean and breath minty fresh. But flossing can feel like one more extra task – tricky to get the hang of, time-consuming and sometimes painful.

Unfortunately, flossing isn’t an optional oral health habit – it’s a vital one. And the more often you floss, the more it becomes just like brushing your teeth – completely intuitive!

How Many Times a Day Should You Floss?

You should floss once a day and brush twice daily. The American Dental Association recommends this schedule to ensure plaque and bacteria are removed from between the teeth and away from the gum line.

Why Do I Need To Floss My Teeth?

Flossing helps reach the spaces that your toothbrush can’t reach, removing bacteria that can cause a buildup of plaque. Plaque leads to tartar which causes periodontal disease that will require restorative dental care. By removing plaque and excess food particles you may not see or your toothbrush can’t reach, flossing also can help your smile look bright and healthy.

Does It Matter What Time Of Day I Floss My Teeth?

No. The most important thing is to floss in the first place! Find a time of day that you’re most likely to stick to flossing consistently. Some people like to floss after the last meal of the day and right before bedtime, while others choose to get it done as part of their morning wake-up routine.

Should I Brush Or Floss First?

Again, it’s all about preference here. Some floss before brushing to remove any food stuck between teeth. But if you like to brush first, remember this tempts you to skip flossing if you’re short on time and your teeth already feel clean.

Help! Flossing Hurts My Gums

If you’ve just started flossing or do it infrequently, some bleeding and pain is normal. Don’t let this stop you from your new habit. Talk to your dentist if you notice bleeding when you floss – it could be a sign of gum disease, which nearly half of people 30 or older suffer from according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It’s Hard For Me To Floss Because My Teeth Are So Close Together

Try using waxed or glide floss, which can help make flossing between tight spaces easier.

What’s The Best Way To Floss?

Here’s how Mouth Healthy recommends flossing:

  • First, twist about 18-inches of floss around the tip of the middle finger on your non-dominant hand and the dominant one – then hold the floss between your thumb and forefinger on either side.
  • Pull up the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
  • At the gum line, pull the floss into a C shape around the tooth and gently follow the gumline up and around toward the root.
  • As the last step, gently rub the tooth with the floss as you move away from the gum-line and onto the next tooth.

What Are Some Ways I Can Make Flossing A Daily Habit?

Remembering to floss every part of your teeth daily doesn’t have to be a struggle when you follow these helpful tips:

  1. Find The Right Brand

    Find a floss that works well for you. Depending upon your teeth configuration, you may need thinner floss for tightly packed teeth or dental tape if you have bigger gaps between your teeth. Floss picks are great for when you’re on the go or for teaching kids how to floss.

  2. Keep Floss on Hand

    Keep floss in more than one place. If you’ve got floss or floss picks available in your bathroom, desk drawers, and glove compartment, you’re much less likely to skip it. Of course, always floss with discretion!

  3. Make Flossing a Priority

    Here’s an easy one – set an alarm reminder on your phone or a recurring “appointment” on your calendar to floss. Or go old-fashioned and put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror.

Need help with your dental care? Our team at Loudoun Smile Center is always here to answer questions and be your trusted resource for information on your dental health!

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