Category: Medicine
Health Behavior Change: Dental Flossing

Dental flossing is a dental hygiene technique that involves the use of a special thread that is inserted between the teeth to help in cleaning. The essence of dental flossing is to help clean one’s teeth in areas where the normal toothbrush cannot fully penetrate.

Significance of this Routine

Dental flossing has numerous benefits, as it is very helpful when one is trying to clean the inner parts of the teeth. These parts are often left unclean, since the toothbrushes cannot reach that far. Flossing helps in getting rid of the bacteria that form around the teeth, resulting in cavities and gaps. The bacteria, if not removed on time, form a very fertile ground for pathogens to thrive triggering an infection (Heath Behavior Change, 2015). Dental flossing promotes fresh breath every day because flossing ensures that all the dirt that is stuck between the teeth is removed, leaving the mouth clean and fresh.

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Dental flossing is a dental hygiene activity that means extra cleaning. The activity includes the use of a special thread that one inserts in the gaps between the teeth to get rid of the food leftovers that might be stuck between the teeth. The whole process of teeth cleaning involves a thread of reasonable length, and with the use of your finger, the thread is tied in such a way that it will be easier to slide it between the teeth gaps. Constant flossing is believed to prevent many dental-related diseases (Physical Activity: Individually Adapted Heath, n.d.).

There are some concerns raised regarding the effectiveness of flossing. Some people believe that flossing is not very effective. Many organizations, together with the federal government, advocate for the use of flossing as a method of promoting dental hygiene.

Dental flossing is a habit that requires a lot of commitment and consistency if dental hygiene is anything to go by. In the quest to maintain good dental hygiene, there are some interventions that one needs to embrace in order to achieve the desired results.

The Interventions for Behavior Change

Efforts that were adopted in the behavior change to achieve good dental hygiene included the acceptance, as well as commitment therapy. The two cognitive behavior changes, if adhered to, will most definitely yield the desired results. Acceptance therapy is the first step to behavior change; individuals with dental hygiene issues should first accept the fact that they have an issue they have to deal with. Once one accepts that the problem exists, the process of starting to remedy the situation becomes possible. After the acceptance comes, there is then need for one to be consistent in the health change behavior. In this particular case, the practice of dental hygiene should be consistent if one has the actual desire to achieve some changes.

Our Process

The results of trying to achieve acceptance and consistency are both met with the mixed reactions. There are, of course, the challenges of struggling with the issue of acceptance in the initial stages of the health hygiene process. Consistency may prove to be difficult in the initial stages, however, a lot of dedication is needed to achieve effective results.

Brushing teeth on a daily basis is important, however, for even better results, flossing is imperative (Why it’s Hard to Change Unhealthy Behavior - and Why You Should Keep Trying, 2009). Apart from consistency, there is a need for an individual to learn the right way of performing the whole process. This is important for one to avoid hurting the gum tissues. Timing is also an intervention that is very helpful. Research recommends that it is better to first brush the teeth and then to do the flossing, this way one will be able to form a habit of flossing every time one is brushing his/her teeth.

Discussion of the Results of Each Intervention

The results of trying to embrace the practice of dental flossing are always met with different reactions. Sometimes an individual who is in the initial stages of trying to learn how to use the thread to clean the teeth may fail to do it the right way. Dental flossing, if not done properly, may lead to the destruction of gums, resulting in bleeding gums. When flossing is done correctly, the results are a clean mouth and a fresh breath (Health Behavior Change, 2015).

Health Behavior Change: Dental Flossing

The Graph Illustrating the Progress in Four Weeks

Blue line on the graph shows how tooth decay increased from the first week to the second week and how it falls steadily in the third and fourth week of flossing.

The Discussion of Theories Studied in Class

Health Belief Theory

This particular theory looks at people’s health from a social context, whereby individuals make a health decision based on their social life. The theory advocates for literacy in health matters. Whereby those with knowledge and information most probably make a better decision about their health (Behavior Change: General Approaches, 2007). At the same time, proper knowledge on dental hygiene means that the knowledge will be an added advantage, as compared to the ignorant individuals. The Health Belief Theory emphasizes on the need to embrace information in the efforts to make healthy and informed decisions.

Trans Theoretical and Stages of Change Theory

This theory tries to bring forth the idea of an individual’s ability and the willingness to embrace changes, when it comes to adopting a new health behavior. Most individuals are known to be slow to such kinds of changes, as well as adapting to new medical inventions and discoveries. This theory, therefore, encourages individuals to move toward the change in every medical decision that they try to make. In the initial stages, the change becomes a challenge; however, when trying to move forward, it is advisable to embrace the health change that is in question. Dental flossing, for instance, was and is regarded as an ineffective way by some individuals; however, we all know how important it is, bearing in mind that brushing teeth alone does not help to get rid of all the dirt in the teeth (Heath Behavior Change, 2015).

Theory of Reasoned Action

The theory of Reasoned Action highlights the issue of behavior change, while applying the proper attitudes and intentions. This theory focuses mostly on the intent of an individual in as far as making health decisions is concerned. According to the theory, the individual ability to use and apply reason is paramount when it comes to making the informed health decisions. This theory is largely influenced by social norms and community expectations. This means that people’s decisions are made regarding the collective community and not that of a single individual.

Dental flossing, in particular, will require an individual’s personal intent to embrace this dental hygiene practice and make it a daily habit (Behavior Change: General Approaches, 2007).


Dental flossing, being a method of dental hygienic behavior, just like any other health change behavior, requires a lot of commitment, dedication and consistency for the desired results to be realized or achieved. There is a need to embrace this health change decision because it is ultimately geared towards improving one’s health status. However, dental flossing is a delicate practice that needs to be done with a lot of care to avoid injuring one’s gums. Scientists and health practitioners recommend people to combine routine tooth brushing with dental flossing to always ensure the teeth are kept clean and healthy.

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