Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Secrets of Flossing

Habits often get a bad rap. Most of us, when someone mentions a habit, automatically think that they are talking about a bad habit. And, sadly, there are way too many bad habits that affect us in unhealthy ways. Smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, biting your fingernails, watching too much daytime TV talk shows, or even checking your blog stats every hour on the hour (I promise, I am working on it!). You get the picture.

But I am also pleased to report that, while we all are challenged with the ongoing struggles to overcome our bad habits, a good many of us also practice good habits. Here at livelife365 (this blog and my video site ), I am all about good habits; like daily exercise, healthy eating, positive reaffirmation, personal accountability, and balancing one’s life.

Psssst…want to know about a fast and easy habit that, when done correctly and daily, can add years to your life and save you money?

I’m talking about flossing.

For those of you visiting from another planet (Welcome!) or just recently rescued from a lifetime of living in the jungle or on a deserted island, flossing (from the ADA ) “ …removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces.”

If this still seems like an alien concept to you, watch this video. In it, I demonstrate how to correctly floss your teeth in one minute…give or take a few seconds.

I floss my teeth every day. It’s a good habit to get into. One of the many good habits that I encourage myself (and you) to practice to ensure long-term health benefits.

I am amazed by how many people that do not floss at all, let alone daily. And as the above video demonstrates, it only takes, literally, a minute out of your busy schedule.

Hey, calm down there, tiger! Why so adamant, huh?

Deep breath, Mike. Ahhh…okay, much better now.

Why am I so adamant about flossing your teeth every day?

Here are some of these amazing benefits of daily flossing, right from the dentist’s mouth:

* helps remove debris and the plaque that collects between your teeth. This helps clean hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and reduces the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay.
* makes your breath smell better
* polishes your teeth (when you don’t floss, you only clean 60% of your teeth)
* may reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart attack
* saves you money, in the long run, by reducing medical and dental costs

I’m going to let you in on another little secret. For years, I did not floss my teeth. I’m not talking about skipping a few days here and there--I did not floss at all. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I wasn’t even going to the dentist for my regular checkups and cleanings. When I finally dragged my sorry self back into the dental hygienist’s chair, I was given not only a painful and bloody reminder of tooth and gum neglect, but an educational lecture, spoken from the heart (my hygienist, by the way, is a very talented saint), that changed my life.

Since that day, I’ve now become a flossing freak, a tooth and gum advocate, and a regular visitor to the dentist’s office.

Just like trying to do all that you can to find that thirty minutes each day to exercise, adding more fruit and veggies to your diet, or opting to pick up a book rather than the TV remote, dedicating ONE MINUTE of each day to flossing will enrich and change your life for the better.

Your dentist will be thrilled.
Your teeth and gums will be ecstatic.
And there’s a very good chance that you will add a few more happy, healthy years to your life.

Until next time…




Sandee said...

Yes, flossing is important Mike. You reminded me of my husband flossing (except the gagging) when he flosses every morning. I could have done without that. Bwahahahahaha. Have a great day. :)

V said...

I wish I had some teeth to floss.

Yeah it's something we often forget about, but is very important. I have dental floss too, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

so important to teach kids at an early age...great post asalways.

Anonymous said...

I like the quote that says, "Floss the teeth you want to keep." Excellent info you've provided here...love your blog!

Chuck Richards said...

Have you ever tried floss picks? Dentek makes floss picks for every tooth. They make easy angle floss picks for the back teeth. Comfort Clean floss picks for tight teeth and the original Triple Clean floss pick. They are easier to use than regular floss and they do just as good a job.

Karen and Gerard said...

After seeing this post, I'm thinking maybe I should start flossing but I'm still not going to a dentist! They hurt too much. I only go if I have a toothache. Haven't had one in years now, thank God!

Anonymous said...

I am a regular "flosser" and my dentist loves me! :) Now my kids on the other hand..... still a challenge! Thanks for this reminder!

Daisy said...

My Mommie always flosses, but I do not know how. I do get my teeth brushed several times a week. I have special seafood-flavored toothpaste! Dental health is important for cats, too.

Anonymous said...

Although Frank Zappa was quoted as saying "I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?." Montana is still a great song:

I might be movin' to Montana soon
Just to raise me up a crop of Dental Floss Raisin' it up
Waxen it down
In a little white box
I can sell uptown
By myself I wouldn't
Have no boss,
But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Well I just might grow me some bees
But I'd leave the sweet stuff
For somebody else...
but then, on the other hand
I'd Keep the wax N' melt it down
Pluck some Floss N' swish it aroun'
I'd have me a crop
An' it'd be on top

(that's why I'M movin' to Montana)

Movin' to Montana soon
Gonna be a Dental Floss tycoon
(yes I am)
Movin' to Montana soon
Gonna be a mennil-toss flykune
I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
That's growin' on the prairie
Pluckin' the floss!
I plucked all day an' all nite an' all Afternoon...
I'm ridin' a small tiny hoss
(His name is MIGHTY LITTLE)
He's a good hoss
Even though He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
Blanket on anyway
He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
Blanket on anyway
Any way I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
Even if you think it is a little silly, folks
I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
I'm gonna find me a horse
Just about this big
An' ride him all along the border line
With a Pair of heavy-duty
Zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
Every other wrangler would say
I was mighty grand
By myself I wouldn't
Have no boss
But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Well I might Ride along the border
With my tweezers gleamin'
In the moon-lighty night
And then I'd Get a cuppa cawfee
N' give my foot a push...
Just me 'n the pymgy pony
Over the Dennil Floss Bush
N' then I might just Jumb back on
An' ride Like a cowboy
Into the dawn to Montana
Movin' to Montana soon


Movin' to Montana soon

Vintage Lollipops said...

I always wonder if there's really a difference between employing habits, be it good or bad, and claiming, "Everyone needs a vice!"

Bad habits are hard to break but sometimes... so are good ones!

Great post!

Paul Eilers said...

At one time, in her younger years, my mother was a dental hygienist. She flossed after meal. Said she couldn't stand it if she didn't.

So that has rubbed off on me.

Also, the health of your teeth is usually a good indicator of your overall health.

That's all folks!

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice! Although I have not been a habitual flosser, I think I may after being inspired by you to do so.

It's amazing how the little things we do day to day can add up over the years.

Anonymous said...

You're lucky you can floss your teeth in a minute. It takes me a good 5 minutes because my teeth are so close together I have trouble getting the floss between them. It's very annoying, especially when the floss gets caught and it takes forever to work it out without breaking the tooth (what can I say, I have bad teeth).

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I hate flossing. I am hearing the benefits, but I still hate it. I couldn't even watch your video. It's something I'm working on....but yuck. I hate flossing. :)

Anonymous said...

Your post is hilarious! It cracked me up this early morning....LOL!!! Yet at the same time, I know that you've got an important message to share. Kudos to you for delivering it in a fun and entertaining manner!

Anonymous said...

i don't necessarily like to floss, i grew up in a country where at that time, only brushing was important, and my late mom had to scold me just to brush my teeth :( hihihi. oh, i wonder how much suffering did my parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers had to endure with my bad breath probably? :) anyway, i started to make brushing a habit when i was about 7 years old already, because i did not want to have tooth cavity nor toothache since many of my classmates would tell me it is tooooooooooooo painful!!!! i already suffered from migraine, why would i add more ache to myself? so, i had been a good daughter since then :). flossing, would you believe, i only started to make it a habit when i was already earning for myself, because the first company i was to work with would not hire me if i would not correct some of my damaged teeth, i was like, "what? but i was brushing more than 3x a day!", and that was then the dentist told me about the benefits of flossing. I have been a regular flosser since then, and also, a regular visitor of dentist :)

Unknown said...

sandee: didn't realize I was gagging, let me try again...ahem...grrranbhenkeopggosogasaarrrrrhhhh...sorry...

natural: flossing goes a long way toward keeping those teeth

terie: yes, get those kids to the dentist

jacqueline: my dentist says that exact same thing

chuck: will have to check them out, thanks

karen and amp: you sound like the old Mike

m: flossing feels great, doesn't it?

daisy: maybe they should invent kitty floss?

dan: Zappa is a trip, and thanks for sharing, man...

bella: habits, both good and bad, are habits for a reason...

paul: good point, oral health transends overall health and vice versa

wayne: yes, it all adds up...especially the gray hairs...

jodith: my wife has the same difficulty...and she looks at me like you are looking at me right now...

stacey: thanks, glad my video made you feel so wonderful...8')

evelyn: thanks, just doing my job--making health fun!

betchai: a tough, touching story, but such are what shapes us and makes us what we are...thanks for sharing

thanks for all the great comments...




You are so funny! I love to floss my teeth. I always feel better after I do it. Now with all these benefits I better do it more. Great post!

Shamelle said...

Um... your post made me think twice about my teeth. I have also ignored flossing.
Comprehensive post.

Unknown said...

heidi: thanks, always like to make you laugh...and flossing does feel great...

shamelle: often I have to make myself do it, but it eventually will become a habit...a good one worth doing


Cascia Talbert said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'll admit I haven't flossed in a long time. I'm sure a lot of people are like me. We get too busy and barely can set aside two minutes a day to brush our teeth let alone floss. This post is very encouraging and now I know that I need to go to the drug store and pick up some floss and of course use it! Thank you for the wonderful post, Mike!

Anonymous said...

thanks for writing this post! it's so true. When I was younger, I hated flossing, but then I realized the consequences. Now, I'm really trying to floss, so I don't pass on my bad habits to my kids.

Preston said...

You are so right and I am so lame for not flossing. I promise to make start flossing on a daily basis. By-the-way, I love the pictures you use. (They have an Alton Brown-esque quality to them)

Susan Cook said...

I was not brought up with good dental hygiene. We weren't taught to floss. Luckily my teeth are strong anyways. But since I've had kids, they are flossing, going to Dentist, taking fluoride. So I've been improving on my habits too. P.S. I heard you're a big Red Sox Fan! Go Sox!!!

Unknown said...

Hi, great post! Dental Hygiene is so important; it seems I am seeing articles about it everywhere. I floss, usually in the evening, I like the Dentek flossers best. During the day I am using either brytonpick or the occasional stimudent, bryton is better for fitting between teeth and I am not crazy about wood picks…if yo havent tried either you can see videos on youtube or each respective website. I know most people find flossing uncomfortable, maybe those people should try an alternative, if it’s effective and you use it regularly it will help. Thanks! Peace, love and Floss for all!

Sandee said...

No, you weren't gagging. My husband does when he flosses and your video reminded me of that. I try to avoid being in the bathroom when hubby flosses. Have a great day. :)

Anonymous said...

I laughed over this video (LOVE IT!!!) as my father was a dentist and oral surgeon. When I was younger I spent a lot of years inside people's mouths with my dad and then worked for other dentists assisting or teaching oral hygiene.

I too floss every day. I also try not to use a wax coated floss because the wax coats the teeth and leaves a rough surface for plaque to more easily adhere to, which all those little critters (bacteria) love.

In a way plaque is much like coral in that the living organisms coat the teeth and are very sticky as you know. They have a life span of about 24 - 26 hours and then they calcify (like coral) and become calculus (tartar), which also creates a rough surface making it easier for more plaque to adhere to the teeth.

Although I also brush every day, I remember my dad once saying that if he was stranded on a remote island and had to choose between having a tooth brush or floss to save his teeth...he would choose the floss.

And you are so right about infection. When we don't floss the living bacteria (plaque) are digesting sugars that are left in our mouths from directly eating sugar itself or drinking juice or soda or eating white bread and other starches that turn to sugar.

So it's always a good idea to rinse one's mouth thoroughly if you eat anything that will leave sugars in your mouth. Because the bacteria eat the sugars and then just as we give off waste when we eat so do they. And if I remember correctly their waste is acidic and it is what eats into the enamel on our teeth as well as inflames our gums creating infection, which drains into the body every time we swallow.

So...that was more than I intended to write :) :) But this is a topic I love too!!!! LOL Please forgive Mike.

LOVE your videos. They are so natural and wonderfully alive. Keep them coming my friend! Robin

I will stunble this!!! :)

Unknown said...

healthy mom: don't be so hard on yourself...but good that you're going to try get that flossing habit again...

dan: leading by example with children speaks volumes

preston: I can take an Alton Brown comparison...just need his money and tv exposure now

sue: great for you and--GO SOX!!

jamie lynn: wonderful tips, thanks for sharing, will try them...and peace, love, and floss for all too!

sandee: phew...thought it was me...and while flossing is great for you, it is not fun to watch...

robin: thanks for the great post, I mean, comment...8')...really, fantastic comment, loaded with amazing information, thanks a bunch for sharing...and thanks for the stumble...



Anna said...

I'll admit that I've not made it a daily habit, but I'm working on getting healthier in many ways! Thanks for the reminder Mike!

Faisal Admar said...

ok doc told me i have beautiful teeth. maybe he forgets to tell me about how important flossing is.

i never do flossing mike. this is a great video and post. thanks for sharing =)

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Efren Leeper said...

Great information about flossing

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