5 Ways on How to Make Flossing (urmmmm)....Less Awful (LOL)
Is your flossing routine "Only when it's 1-hour before your dental appointment"? Because you just know that the dentist/hygienist will ask you about it? 😬 Well, we hate to break it to you - but if this IS you, we'll know. We'll know as soon as we look into your mouth - because it really makes that big of a difference.
And believe us: we've heard every excuse in the book! But if we were to dissect all the verbiage, it almost always boils down to, "I don't like Flossing". Well, many of us 'do not enjoy' chores like dusting the house, doing laundry, or washing the dishes but we still do it. We do it because we know that things are going to be filthy if we do nothing. But instead of seeing these tasks as "optional", we see them as "mandatory". So, it's time to shift our perspectives and make flossing a non-optional, obligatory habit because:
It removes food debris from areas where a toothbrush is too big - like the spaces in-between teeth.
It also keeps your gums healthy.
In the long run, keeping your mouth clean will reduce the number of oral health problems you experience during your lifetime. If you think flossing is bad, you might think that going to see the dentist is even worse (Though we can't understand 'why'🙃)! So if not for any other incentive, when you keep up exemplary hygiene at home, you'd come in a few times a year at most - for cleanings and check-ups and not really need anything else! Problems arise if proper care is lacking!
So, how to make flossing less horrible? Try these tips:
1) Book yourself in for an OHI (Oral Hygiene Instruction) session with our hygienist at your next cleaning appointment
We'll guide you through proper techniques and teach you how to floss effectively. It involves a little more than 'haphazardly snapping a piece of string in between your teeth' (PSA - please don't do this, because it can really damage the gums!!)
What you're really looking for is securing the floss between your two hands. Leaving a space of about an inch between your fingers, you're using your (often) index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth, trace the outline of one tooth, going slightly below the gumline and up, then trace the outline of the neighbouring tooth on a fresh portion of the floss, down into the gums and up in a small, c-shape curve. Continue in this fashion until you've covered all the spaces between your teeth.
2) Practice, Practice, Practice.
With pretty much any new skills, it'll be awkward when you're just starting out. And if you've flossed only on occasion - you know, when the mood strikes (or dependant on the date/time of your next dental appointment), then you're forever going to be stuck in that awkward phase.
The only way to become proficient in something is to practice it regularly. So start by flossing each day. At first, it might take you a couple of minutes to do the whole mouth. That's ok. But stick with it regularly and you'll notice that flossing becomes easier once you figured out how to guide your hands and the floss where they need to go.
3) Try different flosses
Sometimes, it's just the medium you're using that just doesn't feel good.
Waxed floss might be easier to get in between the teeth. Alternatively, you might find that unwaxed 'catches' more food.
Dental Tape may feel too bulking to fit comfortably in between teeth - so you might try a floss instead. Others prefer dental tape - especially if they have bigger gaps between teeth.
Since everyone is different, everyone may prefer something different. Choose the one that feels the best on your teeth - and maybe it won't seem so horrible to do!
P.S. They also make flavoured floss - which can improve the experience!
4) Floss Helpers
Walk down the dental aisle and you might see about 10 different products in the floss section. If you struggle with mobility in your hands, or if you just feel like your hands are way too big to floss the back teeth (LOL - yup, that feeling happens to the best of us!) or you've 'practiced, practiced, practiced' but flossing is still difficult, they make little plastic handles for floss, which may be easier to use than 'regular' floss.
Keep in mind, we only listed a couple possible reasons for using flossers - anyone can use them and many people find that they're easier to use than floss wound around fingers.
5) Bleeding Gums?
If your reason for skipping the floss is "bleeding gums", first check to see that you're not being overly aggressive while flossing (remember that you're not looking to flick the floss upward nor snap it between your teeth). If you're being too aggressing, be gentler.
You may also want to screen for gum disease and ask the doctor what you can do to prevent the condition from worsening.
If you're already careful but you're new to flossing, keep at it even if you see a little blood. It'll improve over time (and eventually, you won't see any blood) if you continue to floss regularly. In the beginning, it's often plaque on or near the gums, which irritates the gums. If anything makes contact with your gums in this state, they'll easily become inflamed and often bleed a little. Once hygiene is improved, the gums will not be irritated and will either not bleed as much or not bleed at all.
BONUS 6) Orthodontic Treatment
While this is a much bigger step up than the other tips, it goes without saying that having aligned, straight teeth is easier to clean and floss than crooked teeth. (Just something to consider, if you're already thinking about getting braces). So, especially if you've got crooked teeth and you're prone to getting cavities, correcting for straighter teeth might help.