March 22, 2022
It’s easy to see why making sure your child brushes their teeth is important. Flossing, on the other hand, may not seem as essential. However, flossing is a crucial part of a person’s oral health. If your child starts cleaning between their teeth early on, they’ll naturally have a healthier smile as they grow older. Teaching your child how to floss isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but a little creativity can go a long way. Here are three simple tips from a pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor on getting kids to floss!
When Should My Child Start Flossing?
Ideally, flossing should begin as soon as your son or daughter has two teeth that touch each other. After all, food particles can get trapped in the spaces between these teeth and attract harmful bacteria. To prevent this, you’ll want to get your little one in the habit of flossing at least once a day, preferably right before bed. Otherwise, the trapped food debris could wreak havoc on your child’s smile all night long.
Keep in mind that it will take some time until your child is able to floss on their own. Many kids don’t completely master it until age six or seven. That said, instilling this healthy habit in them now will pay off later.
Easy Tips for Teaching Kids How to Floss
Children learn in different ways, but these kid-friendly, dentist-recommended tips can make teaching your child to floss easier:
- Show them why flossing is important – Visuals can help your little one understand why they should floss. One way to do this is to wear a rubber glove, spread your fingers wide, and have your child smear peanut butter all over your hand. Keeping your fingers tightly closed, ask your child to clean off the peanut butter with a toothbrush. Then, open your fingers and show them how much peanut butter is left. This will demonstrate that a toothbrush alone can’t remove all of the food left over on the teeth.
- Create a reward system – Few things motivate kids more effectively than knowing they have a fun reward to look forward to after completing a task. Create a chart and add a sticker to it for every day that your child flosses. At the end of each week of daily flossing, give them a little toy or other reward. Over time, this will set the habit firmly in place.
- Make flossing a family activity – Kids love to emulate Mommy and Daddy, so if they see you flossing every single day, they’re more likely to do it themselves. Every evening, before your little one goes to bed, have the whole family spend a minute or two together flossing. You could even play a fun song during this time to turn it into a dance party!
These tips are all great starting points, but if you need more advice on getting your child to floss, reach out to your pediatric dentist!
About the Author
In addition to being a board-certified pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor, FL, Dr. Maggie Davis is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry – an accomplishment that fewer than three percent of all dentists have achieved! She loves nothing more than wowing children and parents alike with top-notch dental experiences. She’s always happy to educate parents on caring for their little ones’ smiles at home. For more tips on teaching kids to floss, reach out to Dr. Maggie by calling 727-786-7551.
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