The easiest and quickest ways to improve your health are simple:
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice a day
- Floss after every meal
This information isn’t new and yet the majority of patients do not floss on a regular basis. People prefer brushing over flossing yet just like peanut butter and jelly go together, so does brushing and flossing. I have found over the years that reminding, recommending and gently “lecturing” our patients about the benefits of flossing doesn’t work.
Fortunately, my team and I have been blessed to learn skills and mindset techniques that we have passed on to our patients to help them add flossing to their daily routine with much more ease and convenience. It’s a win-win for both of us. Best of all, the greatest beneficiary is YOU!
Flossing, unlike toothbrushing, can get to the areas of the teeth and gums where the toothbrush cannot. Flossing removes plaque and food debris resulting in healthier gums, healthier teeth and a healthier smile. Left untreated, the plaque over time hardens and then attracts bacteria resulting in the breakdown of teeth, cavities, inflammation, gum disease, bone loss and eventually tooth loss.
If you are that person that wants to have a different outlook on flossing and is ready to make this part of your routine naturally and easily, read on. The rest of this blog is for you!
One proven way to make daily flossing a habit is to do it for at least 90 days. Even if you complain and feel like it is a chore, flossing for 90 days straight will eventually become a habit.
You might say, 90 is a long time. And, you are right. For most people, doing something for 90 days in a row is challenging. That is why New Year’s resolutions tend to fail and people typically burn out in pursuit of their New Year’s goals in the first few months of the year.
So, what are other ways to ACHIEVE and SUSTAIN your New Year goals, including flossing your teeth?
The answer is simple:
- Choice of WORDS
- Giving yourself GRACE and the PERMISSION TO FAIL
- Choosing to be COMFORTABLE with the UNCOMFORTABLE
- Doing something DIFFERENT
CHOICE OF WORDS
Replace the words, “I should…” or “I need to…” with “I want to…” Notice the different feelings in your body and mind. Did you feel less tension in your heart and head? You commanded your mind to see that you are coming from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. You reminded yourself to be a child again where you felt free to explore and try new things before adult responsibilities set in.
Replace the words, “I have to…” with “I choose to…” Notice the change in your body and physiology. Do you feel lighter? Did your chest open up more? You have empowered yourself by using the words “I choose to…” You gave yourself the gift of creating a better life for yourself.
GIVING YOURSELF GRACE AND THE PERMISSION TO FAIL
Give yourself grace and the permission to fail. Instead of saying, “I will floss every day…”, say, “I will floss more often than not…” Notice the phrase, “More often than not…”, gives yourself grace and the freedom to miss a day or two and more importantly, it allows you get back up and start again. There is no shame or guilt attached to this phrase. You are giving yourself the opportunity and freedom to fail and start again without the attachment of a deadline or a time frame.
CHOOSING TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNCOMFORTABLE
There is a well-documented study where researchers studied the effects of the word change on the human body. When the study participants heard the word, “change”, the neurochemicals released were exactly similar to when the study participants heard the word, “torture”! It’s no wonder why you hear people say, “I don’t like change” or “This world has changed so much.”
Our bodies and minds have been programmed to not like change because we equate it with torture. So, when you feel feelings of dislike or discomfort as you floss or do something new, realize this is part of your evolutionary programming. It’s absolutely natural to feel this way. It’s YOU simply being human! Choose to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and push past that. That’s when breakthroughs happen!
FLOSSING AS SOMETHING DIFFERENT
As mentioned above, change can evoke feelings similar to torture. To re-train your mind, replace the word “change” with “different.” When you begin to floss and turn it into a habit, tell yourself that flossing routinely is different rather than it’s a change. Remember, your mind does not like change. That has been scientifically proven. However, if you are doing something different, your body and mind will be more accepting. Eventually, flossing becomes easy and natural all because it was simply different than what you have been doing previously.
Go for it and apply these techniques. It’s a New Year, a New You, and a great time to do something different! Go out there and floss, and while you are at it, apply these same techniques to any other aspect of your life and get more of what you want. Here’s to a healthier and happier YOU!
Author: Jeannie Ju, DDS