Teaching your child the proper flossing technique can seem like a daunting task.
After all, in a recent survey, only 16% of people said they flossed daily. Flossing is not the most exciting thing in the world—that much is true. But having a clean mouth can feel nice, even for kids.
If you and your child take the time to learn why flossing is important and how to do it better, you might just walk one step closer to meeting your flossing goals.
Here are our tips to reduce pain, make flossing fun, and turn you and your child into expert flossers:
1. Learn the Proper Flossing Technique
Before you teach your child how to floss, make sure you dust off your flossing skills first. You may be doing fine with your dental health, but there are some tips you might not have known before.
Here’s a brief refresher on flossing dos and don’ts:
DO Wrap the Floss Around Your Fingers
Winding the floss around the same finger on each hand will give your child a good grip. Just make sure it’s not cutting off any circulation, and you’re golden.
DON’T Use a New Piece of Floss for Every Spot
Some people do this to minimize the ‘yuck’ factor of flossing, but it’s not necessary. A better option will be to start closer to one finger, leaving plenty of space to go back in. This makes the flossing process easy and quick.
Just start with a longer piece of floss!
Your child may need more than one piece of floss if they run out of room, and that’s fine. The main issue is that if your child uses a new piece of floss for every spot, they might not bother with the harder to reach areas.
For a kid, flossing is already a bit of a tedious task. Lower the hassle as much as possible. Make sure your child is tossing the floss at the end of each session!
DO Floss Once a Day
Try to make flossing part of your child’s daily routine. Whether it’s in the morning or night, a daily flossing ritual is a great way to keep your child’s gums and teeth healthy. Teach your kids the importance of flossing and why they should floss every day.
If you keep leaving this task for later, you might run into problems in the future. This brings us to our next item…
DON’T Be Discouraged by Bleeding
Blood can be a scary sight, especially for kids. If you see blood while flossing, you may feel like you’re hurting your body. It can seem natural to want to wait for your gums to heal before going back into a sensitive area.
But a better option is to continue flossing, just in a more gentle manner. If your child is seeing blood when they floss, they likely have some plaque buildup that’s hurting their gums.
Flossing is a great way to get rid of that plaque buildup. Be careful of any sensitive spots, but remember that flossing is a way of preventing bleeding in the future.
DO Try Different Types of Floss
Waxed floss might seem fancier than unwaxed floss, but really, any type of floss will do. Unwaxed floss can be thinner and squeakier than waxed, which some people enjoy. And other people like the extra smoothness of waxed floss.
Try both to see what your child likes and what works for them. If they’re using something they chose, they might be more inclined to use it.
DON’T Snap the Floss to Your Gums
When you or your child is trying to get a piece of floss across an impossibly narrow opening, it might seem like a good idea to keep pulling until the floss snaps into place.
However, if you’ve ever actually done this, you’ll know the pain and heartbreak it can cause. Instead, go slow and gently guide the floss over the difficult area. Hold the floss sideways, against a tooth, rather than upward toward the gums.
2. Use Tools
Flossing tools can help your child get the hang of flossing more easily.
For example, plastic “flossers” with the floss already taut can make the job much easier for beginners. This is also good for kids who don’t quite have the attention span for dispensing a long string of floss and winding it around their fingers every time.
Picks can help get rid of any big pieces of food before flossing. They’re also handy for on-the-go situations, which can help in removing plaque throughout the day. For a task that’s easy to put off, convenience is key.
For special situations, you might even want to invest in an air flosser or water flosser. These machines use highly targeted streams of air or water to get at the plaque between your teeth. They’re meant to be used in conjunction with regular flossing, so you or your child can get the ultimate clean.
If your child has any kind of orthodontia on their teeth, flossing tools might be necessary for a deep clean. You might find that your child needs tools like floss threaders to pull the floss through small wires.
3. Make It Fun
Dental care can be stressful for kids, but you can help by making the process as anxiety-free as possible. There are lots of ways to make flossing a little more fun for the kids in your life.
Did you know floss can come in fun flavors? We mean besides cool mint, spearmint, and all the other mints. If your kid might be interested in cupcake-flavored floss, fruity bubblegum flavors, or even a bacon flavor (yes, we know—but kids are wacky!), you can try all these and more.
You can also try themed floss products with images of celebrities or your child’s favorite movie. It might seem odd, but these things can help improve your child’s relationship to floss.
Now Get Out There and Floss!
Great job learning what you need to know to help your kids floss. Teaching the proper flossing technique to your child will give them an important habit for their wellbeing.
Do you need a reputable dentist for your child? To schedule an appointment with our office, give us a call today! We’d love to hear from you and see what we can do.