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So we’ve determined that you probably don’t floss. There’s no shame in this. You understand there’s a problem, you’re willing to change. As long as it’s easy.

It is.

“How can this be?” you ask. You just finished telling me that most people don’t floss. Now you’re saying it’s easy?

Yeah. Kind of. Flossing is definitely tougher and more time consuming than brushing. Or at least the way most of us brush. The old “20-seconds-scrubbing-like-you’re-cleaning-tile-grout” routine is a cake walk. You should actually spend more time and be more gentle, but that’s a post for another day.

This video describes the “how to” as well as any video I’ve seen.

One thing that this video does not suggest strongly enough is how gentle you need to be when sliding floss between the teeth. Many people have tight contacts between their teeth. To avoid a painful and sometimes bloody experience you need to use a gentle “sawing” motion when sliding the floss into a tight contact. If you let it snap, it’s going to hurt, it might bleed and you’ll decide you don’t like to floss. Go very slowly at first. Excruciatingly slow. Until you get the hang of it and know where your tight contacts are, take your time.

We’ve described how to floss correctly, but we haven’t made it easy for you to floss yet. It needs to be as normal and regular as jumping in the shower, right? So what is Mead’s magic solution to make it this easy?

Keep your floss in the shower.

Most people have a showering ritual that they go through every day. If you can add flossing to this ritual, you’ve got it made! So leave a spool of floss on the same shelf you keep your soap and shampoo. It will be just one more thing you do before your done showering.

I suggest flossing first. “Why?” you ask. Well, we’ve already discussed that flossing is pretty gross. You need to rinse your mouth and wash your hands afterward because your goal is to remove the remnants of bacteria slime from in between your teeth. So if you floss first, you’ll get the nastiness out of the way. You can rinse your mouth and wash your hands and get on with the rest of your routine.

If you’ll do this I promise you that it will become a habit. If you can make it a habit, you will have healthier teeth and gums and all of your interaction with the dentist will be happy and cordial with a lot less needles and drills.

Let me interject that I recommend brushing your teeth before you jump into the shower and rinsing with an over the counter fluoride rinse after you’re done, too.  If you shower in the morning before breakfast and coffee you need to hold off on the fluoride rinse. You shouldn’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after using an OTC fluoride rinse.

So there you have it. You can make flossing a habit using this little trick. It’s how I did it and I’ve had patients tell me that it’s worked for them.

Did you make this work? Do you have another way to help make flossing a habit? I’d love to hear how! Comment on this post or email me at alan@meadfamilydental.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you! Would you like to become one of my patients? Email me or call the office at (989) 799-9133. I promise we’ll take good care of you and treat you really well. That’s what this Saginaw dentist does!