Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

5 Ideas to Get Your Kids to Floss

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published July 20, 2017

Even as adults, it often takes us years of dental visits and bouts of gingivitis and cavities to learn that flossing is important. And it takes even longer to get into a habit of flossing more than once every two weeks. Forming a flossing habit in early childhood can go a long way in saving money, pain, and oral health consequences in the long run. But kids are reluctant, and maybe you’re having a hard enough time teaching kids the habit of simply getting dressed in the morning. Here are some tips to jumpstart your child’s understanding that flossing can be fun!

Play a Game to Establish Understanding

To get your child excited about the idea of flossing, set up a simple game or activity to both provide entertainment and an understanding of the importance of flossing. Kool Smiles suggests a peanut butter flossing activity. Put on a rubber glove and allow your child to spread peanut butter between your fingers. Explain how this resembles plaque and food getting stuck in between our teeth when we don’t floss and allow plaque to build up. Then, giving your child a piece of floss, instruct him/her to try and scrape off all of the peanut butter.

This activity, or something similar, can be a great way to entice your child into trying to floss more often.

Encourage Daily or Nightly Big-Kid Teeth Inspections

Losing baby teeth and growing ‘big-kid teeth’ is an exciting phenomenon to a kid. Not only does the tooth fairy pay a visit, but watching those new shiny whites emerge out of thin air can seem like magic to a child. Encourage your children to inspect their big-kid teeth areas each night by using floss to ‘make room’ or ‘clear the way’ for strong teeth to come in. Turn their own mouth into a discovery zone almost as exciting as the dinosaur bone dig exhibit at the local museum!

Make it a Family Affair

Improve your entire family’s hygiene habits by making flossing a nightly ritual. Incorporating this into the activities of everyone’s day not only forms good habits, but sets a healthy role modeling for kids of oral hygiene with mom and dad. Start tonight by gathering around a mirror, humming a song together, and flossing up. Get creative and imagine your floss is an instrument with your kids!

Use Floss Sticks

It can be challenging for kids to use dental floss as they are developing fine motor skills. And if your kids simply aren’t interested in using string between their teeth, the habit of flossing is even harder to instill. Luckily, floss sticks are available as an easy to grip alternative. What’s more, these disposable tools come in dozens of bright colors and fun shapes to entice kids even more! You can find them in almost any grocery store, convenience store, or drugstore.

Invest in a Water Flosser

Are your kids resistant to both dental floss and colorful floss stick alternatives? Water flossers/picks are a good investment. These small machines are equipped with a water reservoir and a small pick that shoots water in between gums and teeth to remove plaque buildup. Kids love them! Bring them into your pre or post bathtime routine to add to the water fun, and watch them giggle as the water tickles the plaque right off of their teeth.

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