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National Children’s Dental Health Month: How To Get A Child To Floss

February 25, 2014

As my husband flossed his teeth one night our three year old daughter was anxious and asked “Daddy, why are you removing your teeth?”

Taken aback he responded, “What do you mean, honey?”

She replied, ”The nice lady at the salon did the same thing to Mommy’s eyebrows. She said she was removing the extra hairs.”

Oops, I had completely forgotten our quick little trip to the salon to get my eyebrows threaded! (The thread in hand act does resemble flossing, from a child’s perspective!)

Suffice it to say my husband grabbed this opportunity to educate our daughter about the importance of flossing. Her curiosity made it easy for us to explain to her why flossing would help keep her teeth healthy.

Between the ages of 2 and 4, when teeth in the mouth start to touch, little ones can (and should) be introduced to flossing.

As parents, at the end of the day we’re tired and flossing is the last battle we want to have with our kids in addition to the tooth brushing struggle. To help, creativity can go a long way, especially when it comes to the matter of the bit of string .

Use visuals:

To demonstrate the impact of flossing to our little girl, my husband first dug his teeth into some chocolate. He then flossed and showed her how well it removed the chocolate from between his teeth. He then showed her a flossing stick (little kids find these easier to handle) and he asked her to open wide so they could try it out on her teeth. Voila!

Give rewards:

Kids love it when there is something fun at the end of a task. Put up a chart and use a golden star for each day they floss. At the end of each week reward them with a fun activity or small toy.

Fun Projects:

playdoh This activity is fun for kids of all ages. All you need is some play dough, a large Duplo block and some yarn. The block represents the teeth, the play dough represents food and gunk that gets caught in between your teeth and the yarn is the floss. You use the yarn just like floss and easily get out the food. This is a great visual and the kids love jamming the dough in the blocks.

What other ideas or techniques do you use to get your kids to floss?

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