Flossing your teeth can help you have healthier teeth and gums. But flossing has had a bit of a PR crisis. Hardly anyone does it. I think that it’s time to make flossing a whole lot sexier. I suggest that if you want healthier teeth and gums, you should floss naked.
“Really, Doc? You think I’ll floss more by adding sex appeal?”
Well, kind of. Let me explain myself. Flossing is a great habit to develop. However, it’s not easy to get into the flossing groove. It takes a few minutes, it’s kind of disgusting and if you try and do it too fast, it can be kind of painful. Painful and disgusting don’t really lead a person to decide, “hey, let’s make this a habit.”
I’ve found that the easiest way to make something a habit is to add it to an already existing routine. For instance, if your office is on the 6th floor and you decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator. You already know you have to go to your office. So the stairs just become another part of your routine and you benefit from walking up the stairs.
So you’re thinking, “O.K., Doc. What’s the deal with flossing naked?”
Well, taking a shower is already a part of most people’s routine. You get up, you make the coffee, and you jump in the shower. What if you were to add one more step to your shower routine? If you keep your floss in the shower, you mark that task off your list as easily as washing your hair. Plus, it has the added benefit of running water, so the disgusting part of flossing is eliminated. You can floss and then rinse your mouth right in the shower!
Get it? Floss naked!
If you’re contemplating being part of the “Floss Naked” movement, then let me offer you a couple tips. Get yourself one of those suction cup shower shelves. You can find them at most stores and pharmacies and they’re very inexpensive. I keep mine slightly higher than the shower head and a little off to the side. It’s easy to grab, but it actually doesn’t get wet. There’s nothing worse than soggy floss.
These simple tips will make it easier for you to make flossing naked a habit.
- Try a Glide style of floss. These products are designed to be particularly slick. They slide more easily into the contact between your teeth. If you use a gentle back and forth “sawing” motion instead of “popping” the floss into the contact you can avoid a painful laceration of your gums. This can cause bleeding and actually may lead some people with healthy gums to think that their gums are bleeding due to disease. Be gentle on those gums!
- Make sure you pull out a longer piece than you think you need. This floss is pretty slippery so you need to wrap it around your fingers many more times than you think you should to have a firm hold. Furthermore, you’re in the shower. Your fingers are already wet. Take more than you think you need to get the job done. I promise you, I’m not paid kickbacks by Oral-B or Crest, I’ve just learned by experience.
- Take your time. Just like brushing, people (including myself) have a tendency to rush this process. The faster you go, the more likely you are to be rough. If you’re in a rush, just skip flossing. Don’t worry, most people never floss at all, so taking a day off now and again is no big deal. Just don’t rush it.
- When you’re done, place the floss somewhere easy to find and dispose of. I don’t recommend trying to wash it down the drain.
- Rinse your hands off and your mouth out after you’re done. This is the best part about flossing naked. You don’t have to rinse and spit into the sink.
I know this sounds weird, maybe even a little perverse. Some of my patients look at me like I’ve lost my mind after I explain how great it is to floss in the shower. But after I bug them a little bit and they try it…many admit that it made flossers out of them! Give it a try. Your teeth and gums will thank you!
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