Brushing and Flossing

If I Hate Flossing What Are My Options?

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I hate flossing. I know I need to do it, but I just can't stand it. What are my options?

by Dr. Burhenne

If I Hate Flossing What Are My Options?

Q:

I hate flossing. I know I need to do it, but I just can't stand it. What are my options?

A: Let me be the first dentist to say this — I don’t blame you for not flossing.It’s not your fault! Flossing is even harder when some dentists and hygienists try to guilt trip you into doing it. If guilt worked, you would already be flossing by now!

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Your fingers losing circulation after wrapping all that floss around them.
  • The guessing game of, how much floss do I need?
  • Wondering, as you stick your fingers in your mouth, What did I last touch? Did I wash my hands well enough?

I’m not going to be the dentist who tries to guilt trip you into flossing, because if guilt worked, you’d already be flossing by now! You know how important flossing is, so why not make it easy?

For a few dollars from the drugstore or online, you can get a flossing stick — a device shaped like a toothbrush, but with a snap-on flosser head.

These are fantastic, and I use one myself. They turn flossing into a one-handed operation and are awesome for multi-taskers – you can flip through your phone with one hand while flossing with the other — you’re allowed to floss and text!

A flossing stick could very well be the thing that turns you from a non-flosser into a flosser, which can have life-long implications in terms of longevity and disease prevention.

what to do if you hate flossing

Who Are Flossing Sticks Good For?

If you’re a multi-tasker: If you’re trying to make flossing a habit, a flossing stick is great because it’s a one-handed operation, making it possible for you to floss while you’re on your phone if you want to — just like brushing. You won’t need a mirror to floss with a flossing stick, so you could floss in front of the TV if you wanted to.

If you’re short on time: Using a flossing stick is a much quicker process. From start to finish, I’d say it’s 60% faster.

If floss hurts your fingers: Your hand never has to go inside your mouth or get wrapped around your fingers. No loss of circulation!

If you find flossing annoying: You won’t have to mess around with winding the floss around your fingers and guessing as to how much you need.

If you’re a parent: A flossing stick makes it much easier to floss your kids’ teeth. If your child is special needs, this little device will be a God-send.

If you have a dog: Flossing your pets’ teeth can make them live longer! Did you know that canines are used in dental school as the model for human gingivitis? That’s how similar our mouths are — so if we need to floss, they do too, and a flossing stick makes this possible.

If you find flossing physically challenging: Flossing sticks are a fantastic option for those with a poor grip, the elderly, and people with special needs. If you’re uncoordinated, have a disability, or are the parent of a special needs child, this is a great solution.

If flossing hurts: With regular floss, you can sometimes go too far and hurt or cut the gums. The flossing stick gives you more control and leverage when breaking the contact so that the floss doesn’t get in too far. Since the forces used to push the floss to break the contact are directly over the contact, you have much more control and it’s less painful than flossing from far away with regular floss.

If you’re sick: During flu season, a flossing stick is great — you won’t have to put your hands in your mouth in order to get the job done.

If you’re traveling and afraid of getting sick: I had a patient travel to a country in Africa where water from the sink could make you sick. She brought a flossing stick to make sure she never had to put her fingers in her mouth — and instead of rinsing the replaceable floss head, she just swapped it out for a new one for each day of flossing.

If you have a small mouth: The flossing stick works just like a toothbrush — you never have to reach your fingers into your mouth.

If you have wisdom teeth: It can be hard to access hard to reach teeth with floss, but the flossing stick makes this no problem.

Just keep it in the same spot as your toothbrush to make it a habit.

It could be a total game changer — for self-confidence, health, reaping the benefits of healthy teeth and gums.

Blog Notes:  About Mark Burhenne DDS

Welcome! My name is Dr. Mark Burhenne, or Dr. B for short. When did we start seeing the mouth as separate from the rest of the human body?

The mouth doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intimately connected to the health of the rest of the body.

In fact, the bacteria and entire environment inside the mouth are connected to the rest of your body so intimately that the state of your oral health can predict whether you’ll have heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

In my 30 years of practice as a dentist, I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and people who have fallen through the cracks due to our healthcare system’s failure to understand the oral-body connection.

I created this blog to empower people to understand how your mouth is a window into the health of the rest of your body.

It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and tools on this blog will lead to greater health and well-being for you and those you love.

Throughout this website you’ll find high-quality articles and free resources for getting and staying healthy. It’s the info I use to keep myself and my family healthy, and how I treat my patients.

I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in History of Art and had the privilege of attending the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, consistently ranked among the best in the US.

I am an active member of several continuing education groups and study clubs in prosthetics and periodontology that perform actual clinical work on patients. I have worked as an expert witness in legal dental cases. I’ve also volunteered as a dental surgeon in Jos, Nigeria.

I raised three daughters without cavities (all without ingestion of fluoride). I enjoy downhill skiing, alpine touring, mountain biking, photography, and listening to jazz and classical records (you know, those flat analog 12-inch vinyl discs).

I am passionate about restoring teeth to their original function and beauty – and as someone who studied art history and is a hobbyist photographer, the intersection of art and the opportunity to help people makes dentistry my dream profession.

I welcome your comments and questions and encourage you to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter to get the latest on oral and dental health.

Mark Burhenne DDS

Ask the Dentist is for you, so I want to know, what would you like answered on Ask the Dentist? Leave a comment below!

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Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS

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