Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Easy Steps To Make Dental Flossing A Habit

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published December 16, 2019

Establishing an oral hygiene routine for your child can be a bit of a hassle. Often times, parents are guilty of skipping key steps in their own oral hygiene routine. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services recognizes flossing as a critical part of any oral hygiene practice to get excess food and plaque on your teeth from building up and creating cavities. It’s never too early to establish a flossing routine. According to the American Dental Association, start flossing once your child has two teeth that touch. Just as you may help your child brush their teeth, helping them floss is an important step for both parent and child to ensure dental flossing will become second nature with time and practice. We have compiled five easy steps to follow to incorporate flossing into your child’s routine. 

How To Make Flossing Part of Your Oral Hygiene Routine 

Start Flossing Early 

As soon as your child has two teeth next to each other, it’s time to begin a regular flossing routine. Starting early will help both parent and child establish a regular routine. Parents may have to help their child brush and floss until they are able to take over the task themselves. We recommend helping your child floss until they reach the ages between 7-10 years old. By then, the majority of kids will be able to floss independently. 

Make Flossing Fun for Kids

No matter how old you are, flossing isn’t exactly a “fun” activity. Introducing games, challenges or competitions to your child’s brushing and flossing routine can add an element of much needed excitement. You know your child best, figure out what motivates them to do tasks or chores. Maybe a reward system for consecutive days they have flossed, playing games or letting them choose a song to play while flossing. No matter what you choose, make sure to reward them with praise for practicing good oral health habits! 

Let Them Pick Out The Floss

Kids love to pick things out themselves. Most of the time, they have other people making decisions for them. When it comes to flossing, let them take charge in buying the supplies. When you are out shopping, take them to the oral health aisle and introduce all of the different tools needed to keep their teeth clean. Show them the different toothbrushes, floss picks, toothpaste and any other accessories that catch their eye. Within reason, let them pick out their own oral health kit to get them excited about brushing and flossing. This is something you can do every three months when you need to switch out toothbrushes and buy more floss. 

Set a Regular Time for Brushing and Flossing 

Regardless of what habit you are trying to introduce into your daily routine, set a regular time in the day to hold yourself accountable. When it comes to flossing, consider adding it to your child’s morning or bedtime routine. These are times of the day that your child already has an established routine, making it easier to incorporate flossing. At the end of the day, it matters more that you are flossing at all rather than doing it perfectly every time. If you want to discover some easy flossing technique tips, here are different ways to floss to make it easier on you and your child.  

Incentivise Good Oral Health Habits 

Everyone loves being rewarded for good behavior. Even adults! For children, consider creating an incentive chart for good oral health habits. If they consecutively brush and floss their teeth every day for a week, they can cash in on a prize of your choice. Things from as small as 30 extra minutes on their electronics to being able to have a sleepover with friends should be enough to get their attention. Find ways to reward them for good behavior that will entice them to continue brushing and flossing. 

Contact Pediatric Dentistry of Des Moines 

At Pediatric Dentistry, our Dentists have been serving the Des Moines and Ankeny with over 50 years of combined experience. Contact our offices to help prevent cavities from forming in your child’s mouth and reach out to us for help incorporating flossing into your child’s routine. If your child is a new patient, please fill out a patient history and consent form prior to your first visit. We look forward to seeing you!


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