It’s no secret that flossing is extremely important for oral health. But, it’s one of those habits that can be hard to develop if you’re not used to it. Teaching your child to floss at a young age is monumental in developing this healthy habit. That being said, teaching your child to floss may not be the easiest task.
Because of this, it’s critical to understand why flossing is so important. That way you can teach your little one why they need to floss. If there’s an understanding behind the ‘why’, kids are much more likely to get on board. So, how do we get there?
Understanding The Importance of Flossing
If you’re a regular flosser, you know just how much food and plaque you can pull out from between your teeth. A toothbrush alone can’t get to those hard-to-reach places, so the food stuck there, stays stuck there.
When the plague and gunk stay in our teeth, gum disease, decay, bad breath, and cavities are likely to develop. Your overall oral hygiene will degrade, which could result in more trips to the dentist that could be avoided by good oral habits. In this case – flossing.
The same is true with children, and it is especially important to keep their young teeth and gums clean and healthy.
How Do I Teach This To My Kids?
Simply telling your children that flossing is good for their teeth and gums might not be enough to convince them. From our experience, these tips are the best way to teach your child to floss and understand why they’re doing so.
Tip #1: Teach Children About Flossing in a Creative Way
Find a children’s book that creatively explains the importance of flossing. There is a multitude of different children’s books out there, so you’ll be sure to find one that your child will love. Maybe look for one that is funny or has characters you know they’ll be interested in.
Tip #2: Be An Example
Children learn by observing and mimicking those around them. If they see you regularly flossing they will understand that flossing is part of the daily routine. They might not understand what or why you’re doing it, especially if they’re very young, but it will become normal to them.
Not only will it be a normal part of their lives, but children also love to do what their parents are doing. They want to be just like you. If flossing is demonstrated in a positive way they’ll be excited to try it.
Tip #3: Floss Together
Make flossing and brushing your teeth be a fun activity you do together. This is more important when they’re at an age where they can floss themselves; between the ages of six and eight.
Make it fun, make it light, and let the experience be bonding. If flossing is seen as a chore, it is much harder for a child to be excited to do it on their own. With you in the lead, they will be excited to do it together.
Tip #4: Show Them What Flossing Can Pull Out
One of the best things you can do when teaching a child to floss is to show them all that you can pull out from your teeth. They’ll most likely be fascinated, and maybe a little grossed out at just how much you can pull out.
To accomplish this, eat something that easily gets stuck in the teeth, such as chocolate or blackberries. Then, have your child watch as you extract the leftover bits from between your teeth. They might get excited to floss just so they can see what they can pull out from their teeth!
Tip #5: Create A Reward System
When your child is old enough to floss on their own and you’re trying to help them develop the habit for themselves, it’s helpful to create a reward system. This is also true for trying to teach a child to brush their teeth on their own.
Create a chart with stickers or something they can interact with. Every night when they floss, they can add a sticker or symbol to the chart, and once they reach a certain point they’re rewarded.
Quick Tips For Teaching Your Child to Floss
To make sure we have given you all the tools to lead you to success, here are our final ‘quick’ tips to keep in mind.
- Use flossing picks instead of regular floss.
- Let them pick out their flossers.
- Start flossing their teeth as soon as they have two teeth that are touching. ● Floss regularly and consistently.
- Be patient and gentle throughout the process.
With these tips, you’ll be sure to find success in teaching your child to floss. If you’re having any trouble and need further advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist. They would love to give you more suggestions on how to teach your child to floss.