Teaching kids the right brushing technique can sometimes be a challenge — and flossing may seem more challenging yet. Actually, teaching your child to floss properly doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know the right teaching techniques. Read on to learn some top tips for helping your child learn to floss the right way.
When (and How) to Start Flossing
The exact age to begin flossing can vary from one child to the next. Most kids should start flossing somewhere between ages two and six. A good rule of thumb to follow is to start flossing when the teeth are close together. When you start flossing, explain to your child that staying healthy means not only brushing but also flossing every day. Tell them that you’ll be there to help as long as they need it, but that soon they’ll be grown up enough to floss on their own.
The Flossing Techniques That Make it Easy
There are a few flossing techniques that can make the flossing process easier for both you and your child. These include:
With Standard Floss: Hold floss between your thumb and index finger on your dominant hand. Demonstrate how to cut the proper amount — this is often the biggest challenge for kids. Also show your child how to twirl the floss around their fingers to anchor it without making it too tight or too loose. Show your child how to gently move the floss between each tooth while holding it taut between the fingers. Be sure to show your child that the floss needs to move upwards in a slight curve to fully get between each tooth. This can have a real learning curve, so remain patient and encouraging — your child will soon be able to floss expertly.
With a Disposable Flosser Tool: Disposable flosser tools make it especially easy to floss because they don’t require any floss measuring and because it’s easier to maintain control. Your child can learn to floss with disposable flosser tools in mere minutes, in fact. The technique is the same as for standard floss — again, you’ll want to make sure that your child understands how to get all the way between the teeth and the gums by curving as they move up. Be sure that your child uses fresh flosser tools for each section of the mouth and that they dispose of all the used tools promptly when they’re done.
With a Water Flosser Device: Water flosser devices are so popular today because they’re extremely easy to use. While many kids enjoy the bursts of water from a water flosser, these devices should be used only as supplements to flossing with standard floss or a disposable flosser tool. Water flossers are a good way to wash away any debris left by flossing but don’t rely on this device to get into the tiny hidden crevices like regular flossing can.
Creating a Flossing Routine That Lasts
Because flossing takes time, especially in the beginning, it’s best to schedule it at the end of the day. If your child flosses just before bed, they’ll be able to take their time to do a thorough job. Flossing at night is also beneficial because it allows you to eliminate any debris that’s still left after brushing. Since flossing is something new for your child, they might take some time to fully adapt to it. Consider the use of small rewards as positive reinforcement when your child flosses faithfully. You can offer small rewards for flossing streaks. For example, flossing every night for a week straight can be worth a prize — and flossing for a month can earn a larger prize. Any non-food prize that your kid enjoys is usually a good choice for a flossing reward.
Time For a Check-Up?
The team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is ready to help with check-ups, dental cleanings, fillings, fluoride treatments, sealants, orthodontics, thumb sucking/pacifier counseling, lip tie revision, tongue tie revision, and much more. Contact us anytime to arrange your child’s next visit with a supportive and caring pediatric dentist!