How To Make Flossing A Habit

It’s the dental hygiene practice everyone loves to hate. (Photo: Getty Images)

Some habits are oh-so-hard to break – think gossiping and shoe shopping. Others are oh-so-hard to make – think flossing. But as good as it is for us, why is it such an absolute chore to floss?

“Many people find flossing difficult because it takes practice to get it right and so they give up,” cosmetic dentist Marc Lowenberg, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City, tells Yahoo Health. “But if you persevere you can master it.”


Daily flossing is a must to remove food particles between the teeth that even a high-tech toothbrush can’t grab. Not only does the food debris cause bad breath, but most of the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease live in these hard-to-reach spots in the mouth. “If I were to give anyone three tips on oral hygiene, it would be: floss, floss, and floss,” Lowenberg explains.

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To get into the flossing habit, do it at the exact same time each day. Lowenberg says twice a day is actually best for your health, but if you can only do it once, floss at night. This removes food particles and bacteria that have built up during the day.

Experiment with different types of floss including thin, wide, nylon, plastic, waxed, unwaxed, flavored, or plain, or try floss picks. The options are seemingly endless and if you like the kind you’re using and it makes flossing easier, you won’t skip this important step.

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Leave your floss out on the sink as a no-brainer reminder.  If this doesn’t work, write “flossing” on your to-do list. Also make sure to tear off a long-enough piece of floss – about 18 inches – and wind it around your fingers to make it easier to maneuver.

Once you commit to this daily between-the-teeth cleaning, your teeth will feel so much cleaner that you’ll stick with it. And you’ll smile!

Finally! You Can… is a Yahoo Health series empowering you to achieve your wellness goals — once and for all. 

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