Monday, January 12, 2009

30-Second Flossing

Photo by Huldero

When I was pregnant with AB, I had something much worse than morning sickness. I had all-day sickness -- and it lasted well into my 6th month! Along with this came a serious gag reflex. I could hardly open my mouth without wanting to puke. Needless to say, my formerly stellar flossing habits went right out the window! Trying to reach those back teeth, well, I'll spare you the details...

My husband was recently reading YOU: The Owner's Manual, and he came across the section on heart disease. What he read really shocked me - not flossing actually *causes* heart disease!! Basically, they say, not flossing causes inflammation in your gums. Inflammation anywhere in your body (no matter how minor) causes a chain reaction that makes plaque in your arteries stickier causing it to clump onto the walls of your arteries.

While I had heard that there was a link between gum disease and heart disease, I never knew that it was causal. The doctors behind YOU: The Owner's Manual sure say it's so.

So, now I am back on the flossing kick. But as a working mother of two little ones, I am usually pretty exhausted at the end of the day. Some nights my personal care routine consists of sleepwalking through taking my contacts out and brushing my teeth before collapsing into bed. How can I ensure that I will *always* floss -- even when I am exhausted at the end of the day?

I've instituted a 30-second floss rule. On nights when I am feeling too exhausted to floss, I will just pass the floss once between each of my teeth. It takes about 1 second to stick the floss beside each tooth, and I have about 30 teeth, so it takes only 30 seconds to do this minimal flossing. Of course, if this was they way I flossed every night, I'm not sure I would be doing enough to escape the heart disease risk. But, it's definitely better than nothing.

What are your tricks for making sure you get those essential personal care tasks done even when you're drop-dead tired?

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