It is a well-known fact that flossing is important for adults. It is a part of oral hygiene. But very few people think about the importance of flossing for children. For example, parents often wonder whether they should get their kids to floss when they lose their baby teeth. It is important to establish this habit early in life.
Is flossing important?
According to American Dental Association, for oral health, flossing is as important as brushing. Children should start flossing their teeth even when they are in preschool.
Plaque builds up when a kid’s teeth are close enough. This is the time when a child should start flossing. Unfortunately, parents are not very serious when it comes to flossing for kids.
Baby teeth do not stay there forever; they eventually fall out. But you should help your child to keep their baby teeth healthy. Your child can create good dental habits if he starts flossing early. This habit stays there for a lifetime. Make sure flossing becomes your kid’s bedtime routine.
The benefits of flossing
Between teeth, plaque builds up. Brushing alone is not enough to remove all the plaque. According to dentists, flossing is not less important than brushing.
But you may not find it easy to put this habit in place. This is partly because most parents do not know enough about flossing. But when it comes to flossing for kids, parents can play the most important role.
But once the habit is formed, flossing is as satisfying as brushing. It feels great. The sooner you teach your kids to floss the better.
What does flossing actually do? It in fact removes food particles caught between teeth. If there is debris between teeth, plaque will build up and bacteria will multiply. Many kids have to deal with cavities. Flossing prevents cavities. It also prevents gum disease and bad breath.
If kids do not floss, plaque will stay there, and it will affect not only gum tissue but also the teeth. Eventually it may lead to more complicated problems. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, flossing is an effective way to prevent gum disease.
When should children start flossing?
When you notice that your child’s baby teeth have come close together, try to get him to floss regularly. Rather than mentioning a certain age, dentists mention this certain stage, when food particles get caught between the teeth. And this is the time we have to seriously think about flossing for kids.
You need to start flossing for your child when he is 2 to 3 years old. By the age of 6, your child’s baby teeth will come close together. When should you encourage your kids to floss on their own? It depends on your child’s motor skills.
Show your child how to floss
The best way to teach your child how to floss is to floss for your child. If you demonstrate the entire process, your child will learn the right way to do it.
The process is not complicated at all if you use a water flosser, but if you choose traditional flossing; you have to show your child how it works. Do it step by step so that your little one can remember the steps.
Make sure the floss is 12 to 18 inches. Do not just pull the floss back and forth; you should slide it gently up and down. Make sure your little one observes the entire process.
Use a water flosser
When your child is comfortable with flossing and brushing, you should encourage him to maintain a routine of good oral health. Make children undergo orthodontic treatment, which make flossing and brushing difficult for them. To make the process easier, even fun for your child, you can use a water flosser. You can easily find a water flosser for kids.
If your child has braces, giving him a water flosser is one of the best things you can do for him. Children struggling with flossing also find it very helpful. A water flosser is a small device and it is pretty easy to use. If you are thinking about flossing for kids, use a water flosser.
To remove food particles and plaque, it sprays a pressurized, steady stream of water. You can control the pressure to make sure it is comfortable. These devices are available online.
Remind your kids to maintain regularity
Your child should form the good habit of flossing every single day. Before your child goes to bed, ask him whether he has brushed and flossed his teeth. If your child forgets to floss, do not scold him. Just gently ask him to floss.
Forming a good habit is not easy at all. When it comes to forming a good habit, children are less serious than adults. To make it a habit, you have to be actively involved in the process.
Visit the dentist
A dentist knows a lot about oral hygiene. If you visit a pediatric dentist, you will learn the proper way to floss. Request the dentist to demonstrate the process for your kid. A dentist has useful tools, and he can teach you and your child proper hygiene techniques.
Once you have seen the right way to floss, tell your child to practice it. Help your child if he makes a mistake. Without scolding him, just show him how the dentist did it.
Let your child shop for floss
You can instill a sense of pride into your kids by allowing them to choose their own floss. Your child will feel enthusiastic about the idea of flossing. Your child is more likely to use floss if he is allowed to choose it. Flossing for kids becomes easy when you make your child involved in the activity.
Many designs and flavors are available on the market. Just make sure your child is comfortable with the idea of flossing. If flossing becomes an obligation, chances are that your child will hate flossing.
Practice the technique with your child
Flossing is not something that kids can do intuitively. To teach your kid how much pressure should be applied, you can ask your kid to floss your fingers. Take some floss and loop it around your middle finger. Make sure your fingers are firmly pressed together.
Let your child do it, and let him know whether the pressure is too much. To help him understand better, help him floss gently. Get actively involved in the procedure so that your child finds it interesting. If that can be done, flossing for kids becomes as easy as brushing.
Chart their progress
If you really want to instill this good habit into your child, use a flossing chart and hang it in your bathroom. To count the number of days they have flossed, your child can use some stickers.
When it comes to teaching something to children, non-monetary incentives work wonders. Your kids will be more motivated if you allow them to enjoy what they are doing. Using a printable chart is really a good idea. You can easily find a pre-made chart if you visit a dentist. If you manage to chart the progress, your child will learn faster.