Teaching your children about dental care habits can be a challenge. However, early instruction can set them up for a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles. Flossing is very important to proper oral hygiene, and every parent has to ensure that their child knows the proper way to floss. Children should start flossing as soon as they have two teeth touching one another. But until they are old enough to effectively floss on their own, parents should first take the responsibility of flossing their kids’ teeth. Generally, kids are able to start flossing on their own by the time they reach six or seven years old.
Flossing is important in removing plaque and food particles that has accumulated between the teeth. It can also help polish the sides of the teeth, preventing tartar that can eventually lead to tooth decay. Once decay sets it, the child might have to get fillings or crowns. Flossing also prevents bad breath because it removes food grime and odor-causing bacteria. Although brushing effectively cleans the fronts and backs of the teeth, it should be emphasized to the child that the job is only half done without flossing.
Proper Flossing Technique
Take the time in teaching your children how to floss. Ensure that they understand its importance and that they remember all the steps. Work with them every night to see to it that they are doing it the right way. The right technique to use depends on the kind of dental floss that you and your kid prefer to use.
• Traditional dental floss. With traditional dental floss, teach your child to grip a length of floss between their index finger and thumb on each hand. Shown them how to wrap the floss around their finger, relax it into a C-shape, and let it glide between their teeth. Explain that they should use a new section of the floss with every tooth to prevent the spread of germs. See to it that they clean both sides of every gap, and include the area slightly under the gum line.
• Dental floss picks. Children’s dental floss picks makes for easier flossing. These come with small lengths of pre-strung dental floss that are spread between tines attached to a convenient plastic handle. Show your child how it should be pushed between the teeth, and how to tell if they need to use a new flosser.
How to Encourage Kids to Floss?
Teaching your children to floss is one thing, but getting them excited about doing it is one more challenge that you have to accomplish. Below are some techniques that you can use to make dental care and flossing more enjoyable for your kids.
• Involve the whole family. Flossing with the whole family allows the kids to watch the adults brush and floss their teeth. Children love imitating you. You can also floss while they follow suit.
• Take them shopping. In the store, let your child pick their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. This will help personalize the activity and make it more interesting – especially if they have dental care materials in their favorite color, or bearing their favorite cartoon character.
• Give incentives. Consider giving rewards when your children properly brush or floss. You can give them anything from stickers to snacks to toys, anything that is immediate and tangible.
If you have any more questions about flossing your child’s teeth, do not hesitate to talk to a reputable pediatric dentist in your area. They can offer you more tips on pediatric dental hygiene and care, and even help you talk to your child about the importance of proper brushing and flossing.