The Secret to Daily Flossing

Dental Floss and Threader in My ShowerI’ve always heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I disagree with that. I would assume that if you do something that isn’t good for you for 21 days in a row, then it very well may become a habit. However it doesn’t seem to work that way with stuff that we really ought to do.

For years I’ve been wanting to get in the habit of flossing my teeth every day but I’ve never seemed to be able to do it for more than a few days in a row. One time my dental hygeinist asked me, “So, how ar you doing with the flossing?” I responded with another question, “Well, if you have to ask does that mean the it looks like I’m doing good or does it mean that it looks I’m doing poorly?” She just grunted. Ever since then I’ve wanted be able to show up for my semi-annual cleaning and have her see that my gums aren’t bleeding and tell her that I’m now flossing every day.

I’ve started setting some goals for habits that I want to create or break in my life. Instead of doing the 21-day thing, however, I’m doing a 40-day trial. 40 days was good enough for Noah, Moses, and Jesus, and it’s good enough for me. I still don’t believe that a habit will develop in 40 days but I do believe that if I can discipline myself to do something for 40 days in a row then there is no reason that I can’t discipline myself to do it from now on.

Anyway, I have successfully flossed my teeth every morning for the last 40 days. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever had that kind of discipline. How did I do it? Simple. I moved the floss to the shower! I always hated standing by the sink and flossing, but I actually enjoy spending an extra minute under the warm water of a shower in the mornings. In case you are wondering what that blue loopy thing is my dental floss, it’s called a “threader”. I have a bridge and I use the threader to get the dental floss under the bridge.

So, if you are having trouble getting in the flossing habit, try putting your dental floss in the shower, or some other place where you will see it and don’t mind using it.

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  • Reply
    Evan Lenz
    12/9/2004 at 3:47 am

    Ditto to floss in the shower. I started that several months ago, and my teeth are now magically flossed every day!

    I’m all ears for other kinds of tricks like this. Unfortunately, I can’t do everything in the shower…

  • Reply
    Brett Philp
    12/21/2004 at 10:36 am

    This is an awesome tip… and a life saver literally!

    Thanks Ricky!

  • Reply
    Jorge Ledesma DMD
    4/22/2005 at 9:03 am

    Congratulations, most of my patients have the same difficulties with flossing, flossing is so simple and so beneficial to one’s oral health but most people don’t know that, periodontal disease, gingivitis, caries. I applaud your efforts and keep it up. Any question you may have on your oral care do drop me an email.

  • Reply
    8/1/2006 at 9:22 pm

    I was so excited about this whole shower-floss idea (implemented for the first time today) that I Googled it. And I am delighted to find (EXACTLY AS I KNEW I WOULD) other testimonials of this efficient combination!

  • Reply
    8/1/2006 at 9:42 pm

    Steph – I’ve been doing this for over two years now and my dental hygeinist couldn’t be happier about it.

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