When it comes to oral hygiene, one of the first things that comes to mind for most people is brushing their teeth; but flossing is just as important as brushing! That said, establishing flossing as part of a child’s oral hygiene routine from an early age is crucial for ensuring good long-term oral health. Here are four tips from your dentist to help your child understand the importance of flossing and to make sure they’re going about it correctly.
1. Show Your Child Why Flossing Is Important
If your child understands why flossing is important, they will be more inclined to make it a part of their oral hygiene routine. Explain to them how floss allows you to clean the areas of your mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach and consider providing a visual example. One thing you might try is smearing something like peanut butter all over one of your hands, closing your fist, and instructing your child to clean it off with only a toothbrush. They’ll probably run into difficulty trying to get it all off, which goes to show them why your toothbrush needs a little extra help keeping your mouth clean!
2. Instruct Them Step-By-Step
Flossing isn’t exactly a skill we’re born with; we must be shown how to do it! Your child will need to be carefully instructed how to properly hold and use dental floss. You’ll need to show them how to do everything from wrapping it around their fingers to sliding it along their teeth, so be patient and thorough while instructing them. You can also consider pre-threaded dental floss picks; they’re much easier to use, for children and adults alike.
3. Make Flossing a Family Activity
Kids really like to mimic their parents, so if you practice good oral hygiene habits, your little one will hopefully take after you! Every evening, spend a few minutes as a family brushing your teeth and flossing together afterwards. This can give your child the extra push to practice good oral hygiene habits moving forward.
4. Use A Reward System
Even though great oral health is its own reward, your child might be too young to appreciate this notion. That said, consider motivating them to floss by implementing a reward system. You can create a chart and add a sticker to it every day that your child flosses and give them a prize after they do it for a consecutive week. This will help to make flossing a habit!
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your little one’s mouth is getting the care that it needs from an early age. Flossing is just as important as brushing and helping your child to understand this can translate into positive, life-long oral habits.
About the Author
Dr. Scott Parker has proudly served patients and families in the Calimesa area for several years. Dr. Parker received his dental doctorate from Loma Linda University and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Tri-County Dental Society. His practice is pleased to offer many available services including children’s dentistry. If you have any questions for Dr. Parker or need to schedule an appointment for your child, don’t hesitate to reach out online or over the phone: (909) 795-6019.