Teaching Your Child To Floss

Let’s face it – as adults, we generally don’t floss, despite the constant nagging from our dentists and the guilt-ridden, embarrassed responses we’re forced to give twice a year when the hygienist asks us how often we floss.  And if we don’t floss, how can we possibly expect our children to pick up the habit?

We know, we know. It’s just another thing to add to your never-ending to-do list.  Getting kids to brush their teeth is hard enough; let alone asking them to add another 2 minutes onto their bedtime routine.

According to dentists, flossing is even MORE important than brushing when it comes to preventing periodontal disease and tooth decay.  Brushing covers the surface of the tooth, but your tongue and saliva help to reduce plaque in those areas as well.  Between your teeth is a whole other story.  Food particles (yes, even if you can’t see them) get stuck between your teeth, attracting cavity-causing bacteria.  If you aren’t flossing, you’re missing out on cleaning up to 40% of your tooth.

As soon as your child has two teeth that are touching, it’s time to start the flossing routine.  As with brushing, they’ll require supervision until they’re about 7 or 8 years old.  To make it more enjoyable, let your child pick their favorite flavored floss.  To make it easier, let your child use a pre-threaded flosser of floss holder to maneuver around all of their teeth.

THREE EASY STEPS TO FLOSSING

Step One. To begin flossing, have your child cut off a piece of floss approximately 18 inches long.

Step Two. Have them wrap the ends around their middle or index fingers on both hands.

Step Three. Next, have them gently guide the floss between their teeth, carefully moving the floss around the tooth and under the gum line. Make sure they floss between the gum line and the side of each tooth.