One of the first questions your pediatric dentist asks during an appointment is how often your child brushes and flosses. While teaching your child to brush is easy, teaching to floss can take work. Although flossing benefits your child's overall dental health, some children are scared or intimidated by the process. Fortunately, there are some ways to encourage your children and make it into a life-long habit.
1. Read Your Child Books On Brushing And Flossing
Begin reading your child books about visiting their pediatric dentist at an early age. Include books that talk about flossing and brushing in a fun and light-hearted way. Pretend to practice along with the characters in the book. Doing so will encourage them to be a part of the story and use their imagination.
2. Create A Fun Flossing Routine
Sing a song. Dance around your bathroom. Make silly faces at each other during your flossing routine. Teach your child that dental practices can be fun.
Not only will they look forward to brushing, flossing, and even visits to a children's dentist, they will enjoy spending quality one-on-one time with you.
3. Schedule Flossing For The Right Time
Schedule your flossing lessons when you have the most time in your day. Learning to floss correctly can take time. A learning curve is involved, and some children do not catch on as quickly as others. The last thing you want to do is stress yourself and your child out by squeezing in these lessons when pressed for time.
4. Take Your Child Shopping For Floss Products
Dental floss comes in different flavors, styles, and colors. Take your child shopping to pick out the floss products they prefer. Some of the flossing products on the market include:
- Waxed and unwaxed flossing string
- Flossing tape
- Disposable flossing picks
- Electric flossers
Consider trying flossing picks versus flossing strings. With picks, you do not have to measure the string nor hold your hands in a particular position. Once your child learns to floss, they may enjoy the novelty and convenience of an electric flosser.
Purchase several products to see which one they like best. If your child has unique dental needs, such as wider spacing between their teeth, consult a kid's dentist to see what they suggest.
5. Use Small Rewards To Encourage Consistency
A common saying is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. But studies show that it can take several months. Your child may form a habit quicker if they are incentivized. Consider using small rewards to incentivize your child to floss daily. Just stay away from using candy since this will undermine your efforts.