Tips For Successfully Flossing Your Child's Teeth

Many parents know the importance of brushing their children's teeth from the time that teeth begin to appear but may not give much thought to flossing. This might be because they don't often bother flossing themselves. It's important for you to be dedicated to flossing your child's teeth as this simple daily process can go a long way toward preventing a variety of dental problems that can have you visiting the pediatric dentist more often than you'd like. If you're unsure about how to floss your child's teeth properly, ask for a tutorial from the dental hygienist the next time you visit the clinic. Here are some ideas that you should incorporate in the process.

Keep It Light

It's easy for a parent to get frustrated with the challenges of flossing a child's teeth and have this frustration become evident. In doing so, you're sending your child a message that flossing is an arduous task that involves frustration and perhaps even anger. This isn't a good way to compel the child to continue flossing once it's his or her responsibility, rather than yours. Do your best to keep this task light. For example, you might do it while the child watches TV or perhaps do it in advance of playing together.

Some Offer Teaching Points

When you're flossing your child's teeth, he or she won't be able to talk. This means that you have a good opportunity to talk while the child listens. Use this time to talk about the task at hand. Children are generally curious, so explain not only what you're doing but also discuss why this is an important daily self-care step. For example, you can explain how it's difficult for a toothbrush to clean between the teeth but that passing this thin length of dental floss through these gaps lifts away any food particles left behind after brushing.

Give The Child A Chance

A lot of children are eager to try things themselves, and while your child may simply be too young to be able to floss, don't hesitate to give him or her a chance once the child gets a little older. It can be a rewarding experience to show your child how to floss — perhaps with a floss holder at first — and gradually have your child get more involved. For example, you might start by having him or her floss the front teeth while you handle the rest but as your child gets more coordinated, he or she can take on more teeth.

Talk with a pediatric dentist like those at Dentistry For Children about when to start flossing your child's teeth and the best way to do so.