Have you ever lied to the dentist about how often you floss your teeth? You probably have considering that only 30% of the U.S. population flosses their teeth daily.
If adults have such a hard time flossing, you can imagine how often kids floss.
Regardless of how much you do or don’t like flossing your teeth, it is an important part of dental hygiene. This makes it an important habit to instill in your kids. Starting your kids flossing early will help them form a lifelong habit.
But that’s easier said than done.
Let’s take a look at some simple ways that you can make flossing more fun. Kids will more easily get on board if it doesn’t seem like so much of a chore.
Why Is Flossing Important?
Plaque is constantly building up on and between the teeth. This buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease over time.
Problems in your mouth aren’t the only thing that plaque and bacteria buildup can cause. Recent research is even finding that gingivitis (gum disease) and Alzheimer’s may be linked. Who would have thought that proper oral hygiene could help stave off dementia?
Daily brushing is an excellent practice for removing the plaque from the front and back of your teeth. You should also brush your tongue to clean off plaque and bacteria and enjoy fresher breath.
However, brushing doesn’t adequately remove plaque from between the teeth. The bristles of a toothbrush simply can’t get in there.
That’s where flossing comes in.
When Should Kids Floss?
If you already have trouble flossing yourself, you probably want to put off making your kids floss as long as possible. So how old should a child be when they begin learning to floss?
There is no set age. Whenever you notice that your child’s teeth are touching, it’s time to start flossing. Teeth come in at different intervals, so the right time will vary from child to child.
Make Flossing Fun!
Flossing is such a chore. It also takes a certain amount of skill and concentration that little fingers might not yet have.
So how do you get your kids to floss? Make flossing fun!
If you do it right, your kids might surprise you and start reminding you that it’s time for the daily floss.
1. Floss With Your Child
Kids love it when you do things with them. Just the fact that you’re there with them and spending time with them makes them feel loved and secure.
Kids also are great at copying what they see. If they see that you don’t floss your teeth, they won’t be likely to do it willingly either.
However, if you make a point to floss your teeth along with your kids, you might find it to be a different story. Kids want to feel “grown-up” and do “grown-up” things. Show them that flossing is an important part of being grown-up and they’ll take up the dental floss much easier.
2. Floss Sticks
Manipulating a string can be quite a challenge for kids, especially the littlest ones. It’s also not the easiest thing in the world to floss someone else’s teeth.
Make things easier on both of you by choosing tools that are easier to work with. Floss sticks are a great option, because they’re far easier to use than traditional dental floss.
There are a variety of brightly colored and shaped floss sticks. Some of them even come with your child’s favorite cartoon character or superhero on them. Take your kids to the store and let them pick out the particular floss sticks they want to use, and then get excited with them while Spiderman cleans their teeth.
All of that is nice, but do floss sticks work as well as regular dental floss? The short answer is yes, but you’ll have to use the proper technique. For a more detailed explanation, click here for more.
3. Water Flosser
Another option is to use a water flosser rather than traditional dental floss. This is a greener option than both regular floss or floss sticks as it isn’t disposable. In fact, a good-quality water flosser will last for years.
Being environmentally conscious while taking good care of yourself? Now that’s a win-win!
To make water flossing more fun, let your child decorate their water flosser with their favorite stickers.
4. The Flossing Game
Once you have picked out the right tools, it’s time for a game. Pit siblings against each other or make your kids measure up to you. For many kids, simply turning this “ordeal” into a competition will motivate them sufficiently.
You can also create a sticker calendar to commemorate every time they successfully complete a certain amount of flossing.
Be sure to have a prize at the end so they will be inspired to keep flossing. Pick a new prize each time or rotate them to keep things interesting for your child.
5. The Flossing Song
If there is anything that most kids love as much as games, it’s music! Even adults are that way. Cleaning the house is drudgery, but it gets easier when you put on some peppy tunes while you work.
To that end, find a fun song that you can sing to your child while they floss. They’ll be more motivated to participate once they hear that beat.
As a bonus, you can use the length of the song as a guide for how long they should be spending flossing.
Lifelong Habits Start with You
Getting your kids to do anything can feel hopeless sometimes. They are not always the most willing participants, especially for something they see as a chore.
However, regardless of how they feel about oral hygiene, it is important that kids floss. You can change their attitude about flossing by making the task a little more fun.
Looking for more great parenting tips? Check out some of the other fantastic posts on our blog!