How to Floss
Oral hygiene is an important habit for both you as well as your child. Just like you, your child should brush their teeth at least twice a day. It is also important for them to floss at least once a day as well. However, we understand that getting your child to floss, and to floss consistently. You may also be unsure of when to begin flossing, as well as how to floss, their little teeth. Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry is here to help.
The Importance of Flossing
Flossing is as important as brushing, and it should be done at least once a day. It is necessary to remove plaque, bacteria, and other debris that has accumulated between the teeth. It can also help to polish the teeth. Flossing is crucial for preventing decay and cavities between the teeth, which helps to prevent the need for fillings or crowns. Additionally, good flossing habits can help your child to prevent bad breath.
When Should My Child Start Flossing?
You may be wondering when you should start teaching your child how to floss. Flossing does not need to begin as soon as brushing does. It should be started when the baby teeth begin to come together and touch one another. This usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 6. You will need to perform the flossing until your child is old enough to do so on their own. Children can begin flossing on their own around the age of 6 or 7.
How to Floss
It is important that you work with your child every day to help them learn the proper steps of flossing. There are two types of floss you can use, traditional floss and floss picks. If you are using traditional floss, teach them how to wrap the floss around their fingers. The index fingers can provide better control. Show them how to gently maneuver the floss between their teeth and scrape the floss up and down the sides of each tooth. Make sure that you stress the importance of using a new section of floss for every space.
Floss picks can be helpful for young children, who may not have the dexterity to manipulate traditional floss. There are even floss picks made specifically for children, which are smaller than the ones designed for adults. Show them how to gently slide the floss between each tooth and teach them when they should change out the floss pick for a new one.
Tips for Encouraging Flossing
Getting your child to floss every single day may be a bit of a challenge. However, there are ways that you can encourage good flossing habits.
||Take them shopping for their own dental supplies. Toothbrushes and floss picks are available in a wide array of colors and characters. Let your child personalize their oral hygiene products.
||Floss with your child. If they see you flossing every day, they are more likely to associate it with normal behavior and are more likely to mimic it.
||Use a reward chart. Set up a chart and provide stickers for your child to add to it every time they floss. Stickers provide an instant reward. At the end of a week of successful flossing, you can provide your child with a reward such as an extra book at bedtime or getting to pick a movie to watch.
Helping your child to learn to floss, and how to floss properly, is important for helping them to develop good oral hygiene practices that will ensure a healthy mouth for life. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.