Monday, December 15, 2014

Tips on Remembering to Floss Your Teeth

Believe it or not, your dentist isn't trying to annoy you when he or she gets on your case about not flossing your teeth. Flossing is one of the best, easiest and cheapest things they can do to maintain their oral health, yet it's one of those things that very few people actually do on a habitual basis.

According to a 2012 survey by Plackers, an oral care products manufacturer, 40% of survey respondents said they didn't floss because they forgot. The survey, which polled 202 adults through, was not scientific, but did provide the company with a rough idea of consumer attitudes toward flossing.

For a more official look at flossing statistics, the American Dental Hygienists Association reports that only one in five people floss regularly. Because the number one reason people do not floss is that they simply forget to do it, here are a few tips for helping you remember to floss and make it a habit.

1. Have plenty of floss on hand.

The first step to making a habit out of flossing is to stock up on floss and/or flossing products so that you will have it readily available.

2. Make it visible.

Out of sight, out of mind. Don't let your newly purchased stash of floss just sit around collecting dust in the back of your bathroom medicine cabinet. Keep it out so that it is visible every time you go into the bathroom. If you're pretty good about brushing your teeth twice a day, you can keep the floss sitting next to your toothbrush. That way, you'll see it and (hopefully) remember to use it each time you brush.

3. Carry some with you wherever you go.

Keep a packet of disposable floss picks in your car's center console, toss a roll of floss in your purse, and keep floss ready to go in a pre-packed travel bag so you don't forget to take it with you on trips.

4. Leave yourself a note.

If simply having plenty of floss on hand isn't enough to help you develop a habit of using it, try writing yourself a reminder. Jot it down on a brightly colored sticky note and stick it to your bathroom mirror.

5. Give yourself more time.

Another reason people commonly cite for not flossing is that they don't have time. Try starting your morning routine five minutes earlier (which may require you to get out of bed five minutes earlier). Alternatively, you could go ahead and take care of evening dental hygiene right after dinner - after all, brushing and flossing right after meals is best - and that way you won't have to worry about doing it late at night when you're tired and just want to crawl into bed.

Remember, flossing and brushing shouldn't take you very long, but dental professionals do recommend that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Flossing should take roughly another one or two minutes. So really, if your mornings and evenings are so jam packed that you can't spare 4 minutes for your dental health, you may need to seriously reassess your priorities.

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