We've all been there. You promise yourself (or your dentist!) that you'll start flossing regularly, but somehow, it always slips your mind. Life gets busy, and before you know it, flossing becomes an afterthought.
We know you know flossing is crucial to your oral hygiene routine. But let's go over just how big of a deal it is to floss every day. Still think you might forget? We've got a few great tips to make sure you never forget to floss again!
The Importance of Flossing
While brushing does an excellent job of cleaning the surfaces of your teeth, your toothbrush can't always reach the tight spaces between them or beneath the gumline. That's where flossing comes in.
- Plaque and Food Particle Removal: Flossing helps remove debris that your toothbrush can't reach. When these substances accumulate between your teeth, they can lead to decay and gum disease.
- Gum Health: Flossing is essential for keeping your gums healthy. When you remove debris and plaque from between your teeth, you reduce the risk of gum inflammation and bleeding, which are early signs of gum disease.
- Bad Breath Prevention: Flossing can also help combat bad breath. Food particles stuck between your teeth can contribute to foul odors in your mouth.
- Preventing Cavities: By removing plaque and food particles regularly, you can prevent cavities from forming in those hard-to-reach areas.
- Overall Health Benefits: There's growing evidence that oral health is closely linked to overall health. Maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular flossing, can potentially reduce the risk of bigger health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
Why Once a Day?
You might wonder why it's recommended to floss at least once a day. The answer is simple: plaque buildup begins quickly, often within hours after eating. If you floss once a day, you can effectively remove this buildup before it hardens into tartar, something that can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Flossing daily also maintains the health of your gums and helps prevent gum disease. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is reversible with proper oral care, including daily flossing. Neglecting this crucial step in your oral hygiene routine could lead to more serious and irreversible gum issues.
Our #1 Tip: Floss Before You Brush
Wait, you're supposed to floss after brushing, right? Traditionally, people have been taught to brush first and then floss. However, dentists are increasingly recommending the opposite approach – flossing before brushing.
When we save flossing till the end of our oral hygiene routine, we are more likely to put in less effort or skip it entirely because we are in a rush, become distracted, or just forget altogether. However, starting either your morning or evening brushing routine with flossing first means you always make sure you get your flossing done.
What's more, it might be beneficial to floss first. When you floss before brushing, you dislodge food pieces and plaque between your teeth and along the gumline. This makes it easier for your toothbrush to remove them during the brushing process.
So, next time you're tempted to reach for your toothbrush first, try switching up your routine and floss before you brush.
Remembering to Floss Every Day
Now that you understand the importance of daily flossing and the benefits of flossing before brushing, here are some more creative ideas to help you remember to floss every day:
- Set Reminders: Use your phone or a calendar app to set daily reminders to floss. A simple notification can go a long way in establishing a routine.
- Create a Visual Reminder: Place a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or near your toothbrush as a visual cue to floss. Seeing the reminder daily can prompt you to take action.
- There's an App for That: Utilize a habit-tracking app to plot your progress day by day.
- Floss with a Family Member: Flossing can be more fun when you do it together. Lead by example and encourage your kids to join you in this healthy habit.
- Try Floss Picks or Floss Threaders: If traditional flossing is challenging for you, explore alternatives like floss picks or floss threaders. These tools can make the process easier and more convenient.
Don't Forget Your Dental Appointment
In addition to remembering to brush and floss every day, don't forget your twice-annual dentist appointment. Professional cleanings can remove the tartar and plaque that you can't quite reach at home. If you're due, schedule your appointment today!