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Not Flossing Enough? How to Confront Those Pesky Excuses & Follow Through

Every time you come into our Cincinnati dental office, we tell you to floss your teeth. And you tell us you always do — without fail. But here’s what we don’t tell you — we know when you’re lying. It shows. And we get it. We understand. We’ve been there ourselves. And we also have kids — and we know how hard it is to get them to brush much less floss.

Over the years at our family dental practice, we’ve heard all the excuses. But guess what? They are exactly that — excuses. And let’s face it. Some of them are pretty lame. Here’s how to break through those excuses and follow through on a great flossing plan. Your mouth will feel better, your breath will smell better, and you’ll have great dental health — fewer cavities and a more beautiful smile. You’ve got this!

I Can’t Floss Right

Here’s the thing — few people floss correctly. Unfortunately, that stops far too many people from even trying. While there are best practices to flossing that will improve the results, the most important thing is to consistently do it. Flossing is a work in progress. Like many things in life, perfection is the enemy of done. Just do it, and overtime, work on improving your technique. Like playing the piano, you’ll get better with practice. But if you never open the lid, you’ll never even get to play in the first place.

My Gums Bleed Too Much

If you don’t floss regularly, your gums are going to bleed. That’s just a fact, especially in the beginning. And if you do floss often and your gums continue to bleed, that could be a sign of deeper gum disease. You should talk about this with your dentist. Regardless of the bleeding, you should continue to floss.

Bleeding gums are a sign you need to floss more — not less. But keep in mind that you don’t need to be aggressive about flossing — just thorough. Gentleness can actually be better on your gums. You want the floss to get into the gums to remove food and tartar not rip them to shreds. It’s a fine line as thin as the floss itself.

There’s No Time

This is probably the biggest excuse we hear from our Cincinnati dental patients. It’s also the flimsiest. Flossing takes 5 minutes tops. You scroll Facebook for much longer than that just checking out what your high school classmates had for breakfast. It only seems to take a long time because you don’t want to do it.

The reality is you don’t have to save flossing for home. Carry floss in your pocket or purse. Floss after lunch at work. (Just don’t do it at your desk if you have an open office plan!)

I use mouthwash instead

That’s great. But you should also floss. Mouthwash doesn’t substitute floss, which can get in between the teeth and remove plaque in a way mouthwash can’t. It’s a mechanical process that’s just as important as brushing. So yes, rinse with mouthwash. That’s a good idea. But don’t forget the floss. You really should be doing both.

Tips for Following Through

We know you mean to floss. If it’s not happening, here are some tricks to really follow through on your flossing plan.

Try flossing in the shower. Make it a part of your shower routine like washing your hair or shaving. The feel of the water can be relaxing and make flossing easier.

Use a dental smartphone app to record your flossing. If you keep track, you might actually be surprised by how often you forget. And by the same token, you might be encouraged when you remember and follow through on your plan.

Smell your dental floss. We know. This is a gross one — but it does remind you of why you are flossing in the first place — to keep your mouth clean. That disgusting smell would normally be in your mouth, on your breath. People can smell it, even if they’re too kind to tell you so.

After you floss, appreciate how clean your mouth feels. It’s almost like stepping out of the shower with that shower fresh feeling. Your mouth will feel amazing. Take some time to pat yourself on the back.

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