Teaching your child to floss early in life can help to develop effective oral hygiene habits that will help to keep your child's smile healthy and bright throughout their lifetime. Here, our Burnaby children's dentists share a few ways to encourage your child to floss daily.
Begin Flossing Early
You should begin flossing your child's teeth as soon as they have two teeth side by side. This may seem very young, but this early introduction will help to make flossing a normal experience for your child as they grow up. Beginning flossing at a young age will also help to prevent tooth decay and other dental health issues later in childhood.
Age Appropriate Flossing Techniques
While your child is very young you will need to floss for them, but as your child gets older and their manual dexterity improves they will enjoy flossing their own teeth. If your child isn't ready for regular dental floss, child appropriate flossers in a variety of shapes, colours and flavours are available online or at most well-stocked pharmacies.
For children who have developed the manual dexterity to floss and are ready to begin flossing on their own, dental floss is available in unflavoured varieties as well as a number of flavours kids enjoy such as grape and wild berry.
Let Your Child Pick Their Own Floss & Toothbrush
Make shopping for oral hygiene tools fun. Toothbrushes and other dental tools are available in multiple shapes and sizes. Help your child to choose tools that are age appropriate but that they will enjoy using. Kids feel very grownup when making decisions for themselves and will be more likely to use items that they choose themselves. Look for toothbrushes and flossers in colours and shapes that your child will find fun, and will be excited to use every day.
Make Oral Hygiene Fun
Brushing and flossing as a family can be a fun way to encourage your children to floss. Not only are you leading by example when you floss together but you can spend some quality time teaching your child about the importance of caring for their teeth. To make the experience even more fun put on one of the many toothbrushing songs readily available online, or hum as you brush, then follow up with some family flossing.
Reward You Child for Flossing
If your child is still reluctant to floss, try some positive reinforcement. Create or buy a calendar and add a star (or tooth sticker) for each day that your child flosses. Once your child has flossed for the predetermined number of days in a row, reward your child with a small treat. Depending on the age of your child, stickers, crayons, or even a family trip to the movies or a new book make ideal rewards.