Teaching oral hygiene to children is not always easy. It may take repeated sessions of brushing and flossing to help them understand things like how to hold a brush or floss, apply the right amount of toothpaste, reach all of their teeth, and to keep brushing/flossing for the correct amount of time.
Flossing is an extremely important follow up once a child has learned how to brush their teeth. Flossing helps to remove bacteria on teeth, helps polish teeth, and prevents bad breath. It is an easy preventative measure for more serious oral problems that may arise later on. The earlier kids get into the habit of flossing, the better.
Children should begin flossing as soon as two teeth are touching. Bacterial plaque and food can settle between the teeth, and it is important to not let food stay trapped there!
At Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry in Medford, we understand the difficulties that may come along with teaching children proper oral care. That is why we wanted to offer a few tips that can help make flossing a fun and easy extension of their routine!
Play a Song
Find a short tune with a steady but moderate tempo to help kids move their hands in time to the beat. Make sure the song is not too fast as flossing back and forth rigorously can damage gums. By playing a song, kids know they have to keep flossing until the song is over and are simultaneously entertained as they listen.
Make a Story
Who doesn’t love a battle between good and evil? By making bacteria the villain, and floss the hero, you can grab kids’ attention and motivate them to floss. The story allows them to understand the importance of flossing and lets them be the hero by flossing bacteria away!
Track Their Progress
Using the brushing and flossing chart we have attached can help provide a visual for each child’s progress as they floss. Hanging this chart in the bathroom can help to remind kids to brush twice and floss at least once a day. Being able to visually track their progress is a great way to keep them motivated and consistent. They can fill in the chart with check marks or even with their favorite stickers. Non-monetary incentives at the end of a full week of flossing such as an extra story at bedtime or a trip to the park are also a great way to motivate kids to brush and floss.