Flossing is essential to maintaining excellent dental health, so it is imperative to incorporate it into your child’s routine as early as possible. Here are some tips to teach them the importance of flossing and help it become part of their daily routine.
Benefits of Flossing
Flossing is an important measure that needs to be taken to keep your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. Using dental floss is often the only way to remove food and plaque from areas that toothbrushes can’t reach and should be a part of everyone’s daily practice. Flossing can also help prevent cavities and gingivitis while also reducing bad breath.
Children should begin flossing as soon as two teeth are touching each other, as this is enough for food and plaque to get trapped in between. This is such a prevalent issue that a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) showed that early childhood tooth decay is the number one chronic disease affecting young children – 5 times more common than asthma and 20 times more common than diabetes.
This means that it is very important to instill good cosmetic and dental hygiene habits like flossing early on, and parents should work on teaching their children early on. In fact, studies have also shown that a healthy smile can help with children’s psychological growth as well.
Tips to Teach Your Children the Importance of Flossing
While trying to instill positive habits like flossing in young children may seem difficult, here are some tips to help them learn how to do it properly and build good habits.
1. Show them Proper Technique
Using the correct type of floss and proper technique will ensure that your children build good dental hygiene habits. Start by using a soft dental floss that won’t hurt their teeth or gums and use a piece between 15 to 18 inches long. You can then wrap the majority of the floss around one of their fingers on one hand, and a portion on the same finger on the other hand. Be sure that the floss is held firmly but not too tight.
Next, you can show your child how to glide the floss between their teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion. Teach your child to curve the floss into a “C” shape and slide it into the area beneath the gums. When you move on to the next tooth, slide the floss to a clean portion and repeat.
2. Set a Good Example
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to teach your children good flossing habits is to set a good example. Children, especially at a young age, tend to emulate their parents and having the brush their teeth and floss alongside you is a great way to take advantage of this. You should aim to work with them on flossing at least once per day, that way it becomes part of their daily routine.
3. Make it a Fun Activity
Try making their daily flossing routine fun – make it an activity to see who can floss properly on the first try or play some music while you floss to make it an enjoyable dental experience.
You can also use activities to show them the importance of flossing. Use some blocks, playdoh, and string to show them what happens to your teeth when you don’t floss. In this case, the blocks are the teeth, the playdoh is food and plaque, and the string is the floss. This can be a unique visual to show them what they are actually doing in a fun and exciting way.
4. Give them Rewards for Flossing
Positive reinforcement is key to helping children develop good habits. Consider giving them a reward if they floss each day of the week, whether it be a fun activity or a toy that they enjoy. This will motivate them to floss while instilling the groundwork for good dental hygiene.