While they may seem insignificant, baby teeth are vital to the development of a child’s mouth. Flossing should start when the child has two teeth that touch to remove plaque and food debris. Here are a few methods that both teach kids to floss and encourage them to make it a lifelong habit.
Floss Family Style
A family that flosses together smiles brighter together! Kids love to mimic what their grown-ups are doing, so lead by example and floss with the kids. This is perfect for extra bonding time and allows you to notice any issues children might have with flossing too hard or missing the molars.
Create a Reward System
Telling a child that they will have a healthy smile if they floss every day may not be convincing enough. Kids love having a fun reward to look forward to at the end of a task. Make a reward chart for brushing and flossing, offering a sticker after each flossing session. At the end of the week, give a reward. Then set higher reward goals for flossing for the entire month, and so on.
Sing a Song
Music can help make a child’s oral care routine more fun. Make up a melody unique to flossing. Here is one that goes to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat:”
Floss, floss, floss your teeth,
Do it every day,
Gently floss between the teeth,
Pluck the plaque away.
This can be done with virtually any children’s song. Try changing the words to fit their favorite song or challenge them to create a song from their imagination.
Tiffany Di Giacinto is the senior director of brand and product at Delta Dental of Arizona and mother of four school-age kids — all of whom have learned to floss like a boss.