Most people would love to become parents someday. However, the responsibilities attached to being a parent are quite a lot. Sometimes it’s rewarding; other times, it can be tasking. For example, as a parent, you’re required to teach your children how to carry out a certain number of essential activities for daily living, surviving, and good health-including oral hygiene.
One of the most important ways of taking care of your oral health is flossing. And since it is essential for everyone, your kids need to learn and make a habit.
Most parents can easily teach their children how to brush their teeth. Flossing, on the other hand, tends to be more difficult. If you are one of the parents who are yet to teach their kids how to floss, then you are probably thinking about when and how to start. You should know that it’s not too early to start teaching them how to floss. As long as your child has two or more teeth that touch, they should learn how to floss.
Pediatric dentists at North Bramalea Dental hospital have shared a few tips on dental care for children and how to make flossing enjoyable for your child. These tips will be discussed in this article. Read on to discover more.
What is flossing, and why is it so important?
This is something you should be able to answer. Kids are curious, and they may ask why brushing teeth isn’t enough. Well, the answer is simple. Although brushing is essential as it helps to maintain good oral hygiene, prevent tooth decay and several oral diseases, a toothbrush doesn’t reach every part of the teeth. This is why dental floss is important. It is threadlike and gets to the part of your oral cavity the toothbrush usually wouldn’t reach.
How to floss
Now that you understand why flossing is important, the next thing to know should be how to floss. There are two major kinds of dental floss – the traditional floss and the floss picks. However, your choice should depend on whichever one is comfortable for you and your child.
Traditional dental floss
Cut out about 17-19 inches of floss. Ask your child to wrap one end around one finger till most of the floss is wrapped. The rest of the floss should be wound around one finger of the other hand. Ensure that it is not too tightly wound. The finger with the most floss will release floss between each tooth, and the other finger helps collect the used floss. In between two teeth, the floss goes up on the side, along the gum line, and down the other side. This motion is repeated till each pair of teeth has been flossed.
Dental floss picks
This is a common choice for children and adults alike because they are simpler to use and more convenient. However, it is not as effective as traditional floss. It is usually recommended for kids who are having a hard time using conventional floss. These picks have either a Y shape or are shaped in the form of a harp. All that needs to be done is to run it up one side of a pair of teeth and down the other like the traditional flossing method. The floss is then rinsed and changed or switched if you notice it looks worn out.
How long and frequent should you floss?
Flossing is a good habit for maintaining good oral hygiene and should be carried out once per day for about two minutes. Your child’s dentist should be able to offer a few suggestions on the periods and frequency of flossing.
How to make flossing fun for your child
Parents should ensure that their children maintain good oral hygiene, preventing the risk of gum diseases and tooth decay in children by increasing compliance to flossing. You can achieve this by making the process more fun. Kids hate boring stuff, and they are likely to get less interested if the flossing process becomes boring. Here are a few ideas you can borrow:
1. Pick a floss flavor your kids like. If your child loves the flavor in the floss, it is more likely that he would always look forward to flossing.
2. Make them understand the importance of flossing. Sometimes, children can make good decisions for themselves, too, especially when they know the implications of what they are doing.
3. Don’t just leave them to floss by themselves, do it together with them. For example, you can add a bit of spice by playing music your child loves. You could also do it in front of the mirror and make silly faces while at it. This will achieve the aim of flossing and strengthen the bond between you and your child.
4. Create a reward system. You know your child best. Think of an exciting reward for your kid, make a flossing chart and offer the prize if he/she flosses for consecutive days.
Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth. Teach your child how to floss using the above tips, and you’re well on your way to raising a child with good oral hygiene and overall better health.