Most Americans agree that a daily brushing and flossing routine is imperative in maintaining healthy gums and teeth. In addition, it is the best way to prevent periodontal disease – the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. But did you know that only 13.5% of us floss each day? This is according to a survey by the American Academy of Periodontology. The Stoner Periodontic Specialists’ team is committed to the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease, which is why we want to stress the importance of both brushing and flossing as the best way to remove bacteria from the surface of teeth, and maintain a healthy mouth for life!
With only 13.5% of Americans flossing each day, it seems that most people view flossing as an option. Brushing on the other hand, is a daily habit for the vast majority of Americans. So, why is it that brushing is a habit and flossing seems to be more of a chore and how can we change this? One explanation is that brushing provides us a “reward”, which is the clean, minty, smooth-teeth feel; however, with flossing, we do not generally experience the same immediate and noticeable “reward” (unless of course there is piece of broccoli between our teeth!). Research shows habits are developed when there is an event followed by a reward. So how can we make flossing a habit? Step one to making flossing a daily habit is consistency – Let’s begin by taking the 30-Day Challenge to make flossing part of your daily routine – for 30-days commit to including flossing in your morning or nightly oral hygiene routine. Here are some facts and tips that will help you stay committed to this goal.
• Write it Down – A note to yourself can serve as the cue most people need to perform a task. Place the note on your mirror or somewhere you can see it. It has been shown that if we write down our goals or tasks, it is more likely that we will accomplish that goal or task.
• Know the Benefits – Part of developing a good habit is to know how the habit will benefit you. Flossing is beneficial in the following ways: removes gum disease causing bacteria; extends the life of your teeth; leads more attractive smile; prevents bad breath. And truly, the list goes on! Want more proof? In a 2-week study conducted by NYU, 51 sets of twins were used as subjects. Researchers assigned one twin a daily regime of brushing and flossing, and the other twin brushing only. At the end of the 2-week period, the twin with the daily brushing and flossing regime had significantly less bacteria associated with periodontal disease than the brushing only twin.
• Know the Consequences – Part of developing a habit is also knowing how you could be negatively impacted by the failure to develop such habit. By not flossing you are increasing your risk of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects over half of all Americans, and is a result of bacterial gum infections that destroy gums and supporting bone holding the teeth in place. Left untreated, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
We encourage you to take the 30-Day Challenge. If you do not like the regular dental floss, there are flossing tools available. Stoner Periodontic Specialists is the expert in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, and we are happy to help you achieve overall health. Contact our office for a consultation or treatment related to dental implants and periodontal health.