Book an Appointment

The Art of Flossing: How to Help Your Child Develop Good Habits

May 2, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkics @ 10:03 pm
young boy flossing

Helping your child adopt good oral hygiene habits at an early age is crucial. It sets them up for success and instills the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. However, while brushing may not be an issue, getting them to floss the right way can be tricky. To help you navigate this process, a local dentist is here to discuss why cleaning between teeth is essential as well as ways to make flossing an easier and more enjoyable habit.

Why Flossing Matters

Most children have few issues when it comes to brushing their teeth. Although it may take some time to ensure they are cleaning for the appropriate amount of time, it’s something they pick up more readily over time. Flossing, however, is different.

Similar to adults, cleaning between teeth can often be ignored by children. Unfortunately, neglecting this oral hygiene step can have serious consequences, including cavities and gum disease.

The reason is that plaque and bacteria can easily accumulate between teeth and along the gumline. If left untreated, it can cause gums to swell and teeth to develop small holes, also known as dental caries. This leads to necessary restorative care in the form of dental fillings, dental crowns, and even gum disease treatment.

Proper Ways to Floss

For little hands that are just learning how to floss, it can be difficult trying to hold on to a piece of dental floss. This is why some dentists recommend picks or even water irrigators (i.e., WaterPik).

For slightly older children or teenagers, regular waxed floss can be used to effectively remove food particles and other bacteria from between teeth. All that is required is an 18” piece of floss. Then, your child can follow these steps:

  • Wrap most of the floss around one finger (typically the pointer) before wrapping the rest around the same finger on the other hand.
  • Gentle glide the floss down between teeth and create a “C” shape before slowly moving it up and down.
  • The same process is continued with each tooth until it is complete.

It’s important that your child not pull or push on the dental floss, as this can damage their teeth and/or gums. Instead, it should be gently moved up and down to avoid potential harm.

How to Make Flossing a Fun Activity

Even if your child is beginning to practice the art of flossing, they may find it to be boring, which can make it more likely that they’ll avoid it in the future. To keep them interested and willing to participate, here are a few fun activities you can incorporate into their daily oral hygiene routine:

  • Join them in the bathroom while flossing. This will help them to see you taking care of your pearly whites, and they’ll be more likely to want to do the same.
  • Give your child options when it comes to the type of dental floss they use. With so many different flavors available, let them select which one they prefer.
  • Reward your child each time they floss correctly for a designated period. It can be stickers or a fun afternoon spent at the park.

Don’t put your child’s smile at risk. Help them adopt good flossing habits early on and prepare to receive a positive report the next time they visit the dentist’s office.

About the Practice
At Westgate Dental Care, our dentists offer children’s dentistry services to those with growing smiles. Providing helpful tips to both kids and their parents, we strive to make oral healthcare fun and exciting for all patients. Whether it is brushing or flossing that a child needs help with, we can make the process fun so that they feel more confident and eager to take better care of their smile. If you need assistance in getting your little one to floss regularly, visit our website or call us at (847) 908-3684.