How to get your kids to floss?
I wish there were some magical tips I could provide to parents on flossing. It’s an extremely difficult habit to form for all parents. The earlier you start forming the habit, the easier it will be to integrate into the daily oral care.
Flossing becomes important after the toddler has a full set of baby teeth. This is when the teeth start to touch, and plaque forms and sticks between the teeth.
So here are my best tips to parents on getting the job done!
- Use a flossing chart in the bathroom as a reminder for your kids to floss daily. Use fun stickers to count how many days in a row they floss. Keep it positive and offer some fun rewards, like an extra story at bedtime.
- Read stories about brushing and flossing. There are many dental books available for kids. Once they know they need to fight the cavity monsters, they will be more motivated to keep their teeth clean.
- Make flossing into a dance party with a fun, snappy song. You know your child better than anyone, so venture away from reality and use your imagination to create stories and scenarios that will inspire them to tackle those teeth. Incorporate a fun song, a cape (to fight the cavities), a tooth counter (clock, or timer), and lots of smiles!
- Allow your child to hold a hand-held mirror. Kids love to look in their mouths! Help your children learn to count their teeth while flossing. Toddlers have 20 baby teeth, so flossing can help them count from 1-20.
- Try using the kids floss sticks rather than a long piece of floss. Focus on the back teeth first. This way, if you don’t fully get it done this time, you have at least gotten the most important areas.
- Parents should model excellent oral care on themselves to motivate their kids. And don’t forget to praise your children often when they floss! We want them to be proud of their super clean and sparkly teeth!
Lastly, don’t give up. It’s an important part of keeping your child’s teeth healthy. If your child cries, use the opportunity when the mouth is open to get their teeth clean. Soon, they will be used to the bedtime routine, and will start to love having clean teeth.
If you don’t have a family dentist, ask your friends for personal recommendations. And of course, you can look me up, as I am always accepting new families into my practice. Any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. It’s always a pleasure.