In order to keep a child’s mouth healthy and cavity-free, children should be in the habit of flossing daily as a vital part of their oral care routine. Brushing alone is never enough to remove all the food left over after meals and snacks. Leaving food behind gives bacteria (the kind that causes cavities) the perfect place to grow, and although brushing is a great start, healthy mouths need more.
Brushing cannot get in between teeth, where much of the food gets stuck and left behind. If you are struggling to get your child to floss daily, there are a few easy tips that can help.
To Make it Fun, Make it a Family Event
Make your oral care routine a family event: Joining your children in their oral care routine helps in a few ways. It can be a big motivator for them because children copy and learn from their parents in many aspects of their daily lives. For example – if you use good manners, your child is more likely to use them as well. Same goes for flossing – if you floss, your child is more likely to floss. This is also a good way to make sure you are properly taking care of your own teeth, too.
To Help Kids Floss Correctly, Show Them Correctly
Another positive aspect of joining your kids is teaching them the proper technique. You can show them how long they should be brushing, how to brush, and the proper way to floss. You can also make flossing more fun when you join them. Turn it into a game and have them count their teeth, or learn the different names of their teeth. You can also teach your child about why flossing is so important for their teeth. The more fun it is and the more excited that you are, the more they will be too.
Also, find helpful flossing tools for your kids: There are many choices on the market for floss that make it more exciting for kids. Just like there are toothbrushes with superhero designs, there are colourful and fun floss picks to catch a child’s attention. If you have a child who often complains about discomfort when flossing, these picks are perfect for you. They are made for children’s small mouths, hands, and sensitive gums.
For kids, winding a long piece of floss and keeping it tight and in place can be difficult. Picks are a usually a better choice for them. There are even flavoured flosses on the market now! You could try taking your child flossing and letting them pick out the floss they like the most. This way it feels less like a chore, and more like an adventure.
For Best Flossing Results, Keep track of Progress
A reward and progress system is a great way to make children consistently floss their teeth (and with far less argument). A age-appropriate reward system will help them remember, and make it easier on you in the process. There are many free options you can print on the Internet, and even purchase is many “dollar” stores. For those who are a little more crafty you could even create your own tracking sheet.
Once you’ve got your chart created, let your child use their favourite stickers or stamps to mark every time they floss. When they fill up the chart, the reward is up to you. Something as simple as a special TV show, snack, or extra play time work great. No matter what the reward is, the positive reinforcement will help make flossing a fun and exciting addition to their routine.
Using these three tips can make a huge difference for a child that is having trouble with flossing, or just not enjoying it. It is important that the child understand why they need to floss, but also that good things happen when they do!
As always, if you need any help encouraging your child to floss, or if you need tips on technique, we’re just a phone call away.