Forgotten About Flossing: What’s the Excuse?
Imagine this scenario: you’ve just come into the office and taken a look at the books to see what’s on the agenda for the day. Placing an order for dental supplies, a couple new patients and lots of routine cleanings and exams are lined up for the morning which leads you to wonder…what excuses for not flossing will I hear from my patients today? Statistics find that 31% of Americans don’t floss on a daily basis, while 18.5% don’t floss at all. This probably isn’t news to you at all. You see it every day.
I’m sure you’ve heard every excuse in the book, but instead of just shaking your head when you hear them, let’s talk about ways you can counter those excuses to get more of your patients in the healthy habit of flossing every day.
Common Excuses for Not Flossing:
- It Hurts/My Gums Bleed– If a patients gums are bleeding they should be flossing MORE not less. Suggest a dental supply product such as a rinse which can help in reducing plaque buildup and gingival bleeding (this would be great to have on hand as a retail item in your office!). Paired with daily flossing, patients should see a reduction in bleeding, which will encourage them to keep up the good work and form a lifelong habit. If spacing between teeth is the issue, suggest a floss that’s made for easy gliding.
- I Don’t Get Food Stuck in My Teeth – You know the purpose of flossing isn’t solely to get food out of your teeth but also to remove the sticky plaque buildup that causes harmful bacteria you can’t reach by brushing alone. Many people are unaware that periodontal disease may be connected to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is where patient education comes into play. By brushing and flossing on a daily basis they’ll be able to combat these issues altogether. Brochures can help explain how the two are linked as well as give detailed instruction on how to floss correctly. They’re great take-away items that patients can read at home or while waiting in exam rooms.
- I Don’t Know How – This is an easy one to counter. Break out the floss and give patients a live demonstration while you’ve got them in the chair. If you’re teaching kids how to floss, make it fun and use a colorful demo puppet. Most adults would probably have fun practicing on them, too! Puppets have a full set of teeth so kids can get the hang of flossing by using bright, easy-to-grip flossers designed specifically for tiny hands.
- I Don’t Have the Dexterity– This could actually be a valid reason, especially in patients with arthritis or who’ve suffered a stroke or injury. There are a number of other alternatives to traditional flossing, however. Flossers are ideal in this type of situation and you can find them in varying lengths and styles. Some are reusable with replaceable heads and others can be tossed after a single use. WaterPicks are another great alternative. While providing plaque removal and gum stimulation, they also improve circulation and are ideal for patients with braces, implants, crowns, bridges or periodontal pockets.
- I Don’t Have the Time – You can’t be too busy to floss, if it’s always close by. This Tooth Shaped Keychain Dental Floss can be a convenient accessory onto keys, a bag, purse and more. SmartPractice has many different floss-focused giveaways to choose from. Some can even be personalized and are perfect for flossing on-the-go or for packing in travel bags so your name goes wherever your patients go. Pass out Toothbrush Kits with dental floss in them they can be easily used at work, school or in their travel bags.
So once you’ve gotten past all the silly excuses for not flossing, be sure to give your patients the dental supplies they need to get started right away. Now that you have all the resources, you can say goodbye to lame excuses and hello to healthy gums, teeth and patients!
What are some of the worst or funniest excuses you’ve gotten from patients for not flossing? Share your stories in the comment section – we’d love to hear them!