Tooth Minute Tuesday

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How to Floss Every Day (For the Rest of Your Life) - Part 2

By Michael the Dentist

Posted Jan 30th, 2019

How to Floss Every Day (For the Rest of Your Life) - Part 2

It's Wednesday, I know. Somehow releasing the blogpost last night totally slipped my mind... better late than never! 

You know what that means... It's One Minute Wednesday!

...except this will still probably take you two minutes to read. 

But that's okay!

Without further adieu, here's part 2 of "How to Floss Every Day (For the Rest of Your Life)" 

Enjoy!

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As James Clear touches on in his book, we are supremely visual creatures. Flossing, as it is, provides very little in terms of a visual reward, other than maybe a little bit of plaque stuck to the string when you pull it out, which is rather gross. Therefore, we need to create a pleasing visual reward for flossing that didn’t exist before. This is much simpler than you might imagine. All you need is two glass jars and some marbles. Fill up the first jar with marbles, and leave the second empty. Place both on your bathroom counter where they are extremely conspicuous. For every day you floss at least one tooth, take one marble from the first jar and place it in the second. I know, this sounds like something kindergarten teachers do to get their kids to behave. That being said, You’ll be SHOCKED at the will power you’ll summon just to add another marble to your jar. In fact, it’s the very same system I use to motivate myself to create videos for you guys to enjoy. If you don’t have room for jars and marbles, buy a tiny calendar and draw an “X” on every day that you floss one tooth or more. This works incredibly well as long as the calendar is somewhere incredibly obvious. For me, nothin’ beats marbles, as there is tactile, visual and auditory feedback that just makes the whole process so gosh darn satisfying. You can even create a hierarchy of rewards:

for example:

flossing one tooth = 1 marble.

Flossing all top teeth = 2 marbles.

Flossing all teeth = 3 marbles.

Even if you’re lazy and only get 1 marble a night, you’re unwittingly building a foundational habit, on which you can build down the road. After flossing just 1 tooth a night for a month or two, you’ll likely ask yourself… “is it really that much more effort to just floss the rest of the teeth on this side?” Within no time, you’ll find yourself with a jar full of marbles, and a mouth full of perfectly flossed teeth.

Great, so now we’ve made flossing rewarding. But how can we make it easier to do in the first place? When I say “easier,” I don’t mean it in a physical or technical sense. Instead, I’m talking about making flossing mentally easier. I’m assuming most of you already know the basics of how to floss. If you don’t, there are tonnes of YouTube videos out there on the subject. Let me ask you a question - where’s your toothbrush right now? I’m guessing it’s probably on the bathroom counter, ready to go. A follow-up question - where’s your floss? If it’s tucked away in the cabinet somewhere or still in the packaging from the drug store, don’t worry - you’re not alone. We can make flossing mentally easier by placing it out in the open. As Mr. Clear would say, we’re making the “cue” for flossing much more obvious. If your floss has a lid on it, rip it off, and expose part of the string, so that the physical floss itself can be seen every time you walk into the washroom. You know you’re going to brush your teeth, so place your floss container on top of your toothpaste tube as to make the cue even more ridiculously apparent.

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We'll see you next week for the final part of this series! Tuesday this time, I promise :)


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