Flossing doesn’t happen often enough for either adults or kids today — a study published by the American Academy of Periodontology revealed that over a quarter of adults in the United States are less than honest about flossing frequency to their dentist. It’s easy to imagine the effect that this might have on children today. After all, children aren’t terribly likely to grow great habits without a parent who does the same. Fortunately, you don’t have to let your child fall into bad flossing habits. You can get them to floss everyday with the help of the tips below.
Make it a Team Effort
As mentioned above, many adults don’t floss enough. The best way you can improve both your own flossing and your child’s flossing is to make it a team effort. Have brushing and flossing time as a team each night before bed. You can add a bit of fun by making it a challenge. For example, tell your child that if they’re the one to remind you that it’s brushing and flossing time before bed (rather than you doing the reminding) they get a special award. Staying up five extra minutes, reading one extra story at bed, or other small awards mean a lot to kids and can motive them very well.
Add Some Entertainment
One reason that kids might drag their feet on flossing everyday is that they find it boring. You can beat this potential obstacle by adding some entertainment to the mix. Bring your smartphone or tablet into the bathroom and allow your child to pick music to floss by. Alternatively, let them pick one short video to watch while they floss. This keeps them from associating flossing with boredom and makes the time fly by.
Get New Flossing Tools
If you’re trying to get your child to floss everyday with ordinary dental floss, you might be making it more complicated than it really has to be. There are a huge variety of fun dental floss options that kids will love, easily accessible at your local drugstore or grocery store. Whether it’s wild fruit flavors or bubblegum burst flavor that catches your child’s attention, let them choose something on their own. You’ll also have the option of using handheld flossers instead of traditional flossing thread. The handheld flosser is often much easier for children to use because there’s no confusion about measuring the floss or wrapping the tape around the fingers properly. Some of the handheld flossers even have easy to grip handles made especially for little fingers.
See Your Pediatric Dentist For Check-Ups
It’s important that your child sees the dentist as non-threatening, and you can use the new flossing routine to make sure that this happens. When your child has a check-up coming soon, remind them of it every night while flossing. Tell your child that you think the dentist will be quite impressed when they see how great their teeth look thanks to daily flossing. The promise of a small gift, if your child gets a good report from the dentist, can also keep your child’s motivation high. Any kind of small toy, book, or other rewards that your child has been wishing for can make a great reward. However, it’s probably wise to avoid rewarding with a special meal, as this is often topped off with a sugary dessert that’s terrible for the teeth. There are undoubtedly plenty of non-food gifts that your child will absolutely love as their “superstar flosser” award.
The team at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is here to help kids of all ages to floss everyday and achieve the best dental health possible. The two Ponte Vedra dentists at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics have dedicated themselves to giving children high-quality dental care in a supportive, gentle, and welcoming environment. Contact the office anytime to arrange a check-up, emergency dental care, or orthodontic care for your child or teen.