If you want your children to grow up to have healthy oral hygiene habits, you need to start them early. Teaching children habits like proper brushing and flossing teaches them a foundation for oral health. Follow these tips for teaching your children how to floss properly.
Why Does Flossing Matter?
Flossing is one of the keys to great oral health. Flossing is essential to healthy teeth and gums. Flossing removes food particles and plaque that build up between your teeth. Although brushing removes some food and plaque, it can’t reach the cracks and crevices of your mouth.
If you don’t floss, the plaque can continue to build up in your mouth. Then, they can cause tooth decay or gum disease. You can prevent cavities and costly dental procedures, like root canals.
Flossing also polishes the sides of your teeth, keeping them shiny and white. Furthermore, they can prevent bad breath. With so many benefits of flossing, there’s no reason not to do it.
But flossing is a habit neglected by many adults. If you don’t teach children how to floss, they might never develop the habit. At an early age, you can teach children the importance of flossing. You can prevent them from suffering from bad breath and tooth damage.
When to Start
Once your children have two adjacent teeth, you can start flossing them. However, you probably need to do the job yourself. A young child is not capable of properly flossing. You should floss your child’s teeth until they are old enough to do it well. Typically, children don’t start flossing until they turn six or seven years of age.
Although children eventually get adult teeth, they can still get tooth decay. It might be necessary for them to get procedures like fillings and crowns.
Whether you floss your child’s teeth or they do it themselves, the act can set a good precedent. Later in life, your child might continue to follow good oral hygiene practices.
Tips for Teaching Flossing
Teaching your children how to floss is easier than you might imagine. Even the most challenging children can learn how to floss. Following these tips can make teaching your children proper flossing techniques easier than ever.
Choose the right type of floss
There are multiple ways to floss. With traditional floss, you take a long strand of floss and wrap it around your thumb and index finger. Transform the floss into a “C” shape and place it between two teeth. Be sure to use a new section of floss for each tooth.
Dental floss picks are a little different. If you want to use picks, all you need to do is teach your child how to hold the pick. Then, show them how to go between their teeth.
Although most children prefer dental floss picks, some might respond better to the traditional floss. You can try both methods to see which one works better for your child.
Teach them the right technique
If you’re going to teach your child to floss, teach them to do it the right way. For example, show them the proper way to hold the pick or floss. Tell your child to watch as you floss your own teeth. Before you show them how to do it to themselves, use yourself as an example. Show them how to get into the gumline and how to replace the floss between teeth.
Once your child watches you, have them try it. If they do something wrong, gently correct them. Be sure to provide positive reinforcement to avoid discouraging them.
Make flossing exciting
The best way to teach a child about something is to get them excited. If you make flossing fun and exciting, your kids will be more willing to do it. Consider playing music while flossing or getting bright coloured floss.
You might be able to find some floss that features children’s television characters. If your child is obsessed with a certain television show, look for floss that features the characters. You could also look for an episode of the show that discusses flossing. When they see it on the television, your kids might be more likely to try it themselves.
You should also keep flossing exciting. Once your child starts flossing, make an oral hygiene chart. Every time your child brushes and flosses, place a sticker on the chart. When your child fills up the chart with stickers, give them a prize. You can do the chart for as short-term or long-term as you like. The prize can be something as little as a dollar store toy, or something as major as a vacation.
Make it a family affair
If you can make flossing a family activity, your kids might enjoy it more. You don’t have to only do this with flossing. Every morning, brush your teeth as a family. Then, floss together.
Brushing and flossing together allows you to monitor your children’s oral hygiene habits. If you see anything wrong, you can correct it. You can also make sure they’re spending enough time brushing and flossing.
Children love imitating their parents. When they watch you floss, they want to follow your example. It’s a great way to enforce good flossing habits.
You can change things up by letting them floss your teeth, and vice versa. By making flossing a fun family activity, you can help your children have healthier teeth.
Go on a shopping spree
Before you teach your children how to floss, take them on a shopping spree. But instead of buying toys, buy oral care products. Let them choose a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.
They can personalize their oral care products. With the right products, they might actually look forward to brushing and flossing.
Getting a Headstart on Healthy Teeth
Your teeth have a long life ahead of them. When children are young, they need to learn how to give their teeth a long lifespan. By teaching them how to floss, you can do just that.
No matter your age, dental condition, and if you have a million questions, Dr. Sims can assist you or your young children in a professional manner and loves answering any of your questions or concerns.
Dr. Sims grew up in Grimsby playing basketball, so he’s always up for talking about the Raptors! He’s also a football fan - go Buffalo Bills! In his free time, if he’s not watching a basketball game or football game, you’ll likely find him working out, cooking (got any new recipe ideas?), and of course, spending time with his amazing family.