How to make flossing part of your routine

Flossing your teeth at least once a day helps clean plaque from hard-to-reach places between teeth and under the gumline — lowering your risk of cavities and keeping gum disease at bay. Consider these tips for how to add flossing to your routine.

Getting started

Choose the type of floss that works best for you — such as waxed or unwaxed, mint-flavored, dental tape or pre-threaded flossers. It’s important to learn the proper way to floss.

For traditional floss, just pull 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the dispenser and wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers on each hand. Then use your index finger and thumb to guide the floss between each tooth.

Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape, moving the floss back and forth against the sides of each tooth.

4 out of 10 Americans report flossing daily.1

Make it a habit

But how do you remember to do it? Try designating a trigger that consistently reminds you to floss. One way to do this is to pair it with existing parts of your routine such as after you brush, when you take your medication or before you go to bed. To keep flossing top of mind, try these tricks:

• Set reminders to floss on your phone or with notes placed in the bathroom.

• Leave your floss in sight instead of tucked away in a drawer.

• Store it right next to your toothbrush so you see it every time you brush.

• Add a bright eye-catching sticker to your floss container.

Flossing is the #1 weapon against plaque.

Set yourself up for success

The best way to maintain consistency is to plan for disruption. You may be pulled from your normal routine for a business trip or vacation. Keep travel floss on hand in convenient locations such as your car, briefcase or office, so you can still floss on the go.

Reward yourself

Set a goal and keep a daily log of your progress, then reward yourself with a fun activity or sugar-free treat for remembering to floss for a target amount of consecutive days.

12014 Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-Being Survey

2Academy of General Dentistry