Flossing and Your Child: 3 Ways to Help Them Succeed

March 25, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nicholas Capezio @ 1:22 pm
mom and son flossing their teeth

Flossing can be tricky for many kids. Attempting to take what looks like a piece of string and move it in between teeth without tugging, pulling, or pushing can be hard. This is why parents and trusted dental professionals are tasked with teaching children how to do this safely, effectively, and thoroughly. If you are struggling to assist your little one and improve their flossing habits, here are three ways you can help them succeed.

Be the Example

As a parent, teaching kids how to floss can be hard, but you can be instrumental in helping your child adopt optimal flossing habits. One of the most pivotal ways to do this is to show them! When it’s time to take care of your own teeth in the morning or at night, have your child watch you as you carefully move the floss between each tooth. If you want to make it easier for them to see how the floss actually removes food particles, eat a chocolate cookie beforehand. This will help them to see the removal process and better understand how effective flossing is!

Use Visual Aides

If your child is a bit younger, you can make the process fun by having them practice on a toy. There are many useful dentist playsets available on the market, but you can also create something at home. This can be done by using Legos, Play-Doh, and a piece of string. By placing the Play-Doh between the grooves of the Legos, your child can use the “floss” to remove it, giving them an idea of how to floss properly before they ever get started on their own smile.

Establish a Reward System

It’s going to take some time before your child grasps the concept and proper method of flossing, but over time, you can expect their efforts will significantly improve. To help them get closer to mastering this skill, establish a reward system. You can decide the duration and quality, but an example could be that if they floss for an entire week (and are doing it to your satisfaction), they can earn a trip to the park or a special toy.

You may be tempted to entice them with candy or some other sugary treat, but it’s best to avoid these types of rewards because of the potential for cavities.

No matter how you approach your child’s flossing efforts, make sure you do it with enthusiasm and encouragement. In no time at all, you’ll notice a positive change in their oral hygiene habits, which will only serve to benefit them the older they get.

About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Capezio is a board-eligible pediatric dentist who completed his dental degree at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Receiving his Advanced Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry as well as a master’s in Oral Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, he works alongside Dr. Ted Loiben who also helps to oversee their locally-owned dental practice. Helping children get excited about oral hygiene, the two work closely together to provide parents and kids with helpful tips to improve oral hygiene habits at home. If you need help encouraging your child’s flossing habits, visit our website or call (847) 459-9100.