Most parents are aware of the pains of teaching their kids good dental hygiene habits from the proper technique of holding a brush and how much toothpaste to use to how to ensure that their brush reaches all nooks and crevices inside their mouth. Then there’s the added effort of stressing on certain important hygiene habits like not swallowing their toothpaste, using mouthwash properly etc; but perhaps the hardest thing to teach kids is how to floss properly. First, you have to explain them the importance of the seemingly painstaking process of flossing and then you have to teach them how to floss which in itself is a task to be reckoned with. Kids are naturally fidgety and keep moving around; getting them to stay still throughout the entire lesson of flossing is something that every parent struggles to achieve, but we all know how important flossing is and there is no escaping it.
Flossing is essential to remove interdental plaque which the bristles of a toothbrush cannot remove. If this plaque is not removed while it is still soft, it hardens and turns into tartar which leads to gum diseases. In addition to this, flossing also prevents bad breath associated with decaying of food particles stuck in between teeth and helps improve overall dental health. Teaching kids how to floss is easy once you explain the importance of flossing and follow certain habits and steps to include flossing in their regular dental care routine.
Use the following simple steps to teach your kids how to floss.
- For kids, use a dental floss which is soft and easily pliable and won’t hurt their gums.
- Use about 18 inches of floss from the roll for flossing.
- Wrap one end of the floss around one of your child’s middle finger and wrap the other end of the floss on the middle finger on their other hand. The floss should be wrapped tight enough so that it doesn’t slip while flossing, but not so tight that it hurts your child’s fingers.
- Now demonstrate how to floss their teeth by using a gentle back and forth motion after sliding the floss in between their teeth. Also, show them how to clean the area near the gums by curving the floss into a C-shape.
- Use a new string of floss as your child moves between teeth and show them how to wrap the used portion of the floss on their fingers and use the clean portion for the new space.
Learning how to use floss will be easier with some practice. So, ensure that your child practices flossing and after some practice, they should be able to use it on their own. Learning is not the hard part; the hard part will be teaching your child to integrate flossing in their daily dental care schedule. You can use the following tips or ideas which will serve as a reminder for your child to use floss every day.
Make a flossing chart or get one printed which can be kept in your child’s bathroom as a reminder or a progress calendar which will remind them to floss at least once every day. Make it a game by promising some sort of reward to your child for a certain number of continuous days of flossing.
Make it interesting for your child to floss by getting them special floss designed specifically for kids which comes in a variety of color and characters.
Habits take some time to form. So ensure that your child flosses regularly and provide some motivation by showing positive reinforcement which will encourage your child to floss daily and pretty soon the act of flossing will be a part of their daily dental care routine.
Set an example for them by regularly flossing and practicing proper dental care routine in front of your kids which will motivate them to follow your example.
Following these tips and steps will make teaching your kids how to floss a lot easier for you.