To maintain great oral health, kids need to brush and floss just like adults. It can be tricky for them to develop the habit of flossing. It’s important because flossing removes food and bacteria from between the teeth where a brush can’t reach. Someone can brush well, but still get cavities and gum disease because they don’t floss. Here are five tips.
- Start Early
- Let Them Choose Their Floss
- Make Floss Time Entertaining
- Floss When They Floss
- Be Patient
As soon as your child has two teeth touching each other, it’s time to get them used to flossing. Wrap the floss around your fingers, like you’re going to floss your own teeth, and gently slide the floss between your kid’s teeth. Be sure to use a clean section of floss for each space.
If your kid doesn’t like the floss you pick for them, let them choose! They might need to try a few kinds of floss products to find one they like, but they’re much more likely to develop a habit when they’re comfortable.
While your child brushes and flosses, play their favorite song or read them a story. This also gives you an excuse to monitor them, but in a way that doesn’t feel quite so invasive. This time becomes an opportunity to hang out and do something fun together.
Kids imitate their parents. If you tell them to floss, but they never see you do it, they’re less likely to take it seriously. When it’s time for your kids to brush and floss, perform the routine with them. If you eat anything after they’ve gone to bed, just remember to clean your teeth again before you turn in for the night.
Expect some of the same whining and complaining that often accompanies self care tasks for kids. But be understanding because flossing is just hard for some kids for a variety of reasons. Some kids have sensitive mouths, overactive gag reflexes, or sensory conditions. Others have trouble with dexterity. These can all make flossing challenging. A different floss product might help, but if not, check in with us about protecting your child’s oral health.
Children’s Dentistry at Las Cruces Dental
Our office offers a variety of kid-friendly services like cleanings, exams, dental sealants, and fluoride treatments. Establishing a dental home for your kids when they get their first tooth (or by the time they turn one) gets them on the right track for a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. By learning good habits like flossing, they’ll understand the importance of great oral hygiene. If you have any questions about flossing, children’s dentistry, or the services at our Las Cruces office, please contact us!