Kids say the darndest things. Everyday topics, like learning how to floss, can turn into a comedy show. Case in point: One night, as my husband flossed his teeth our daughter exclaimed, “Daddy, why are you removing your teeth?”
Lesson learned. Time to teach her how to floss.
Teaching a kid how to use dental floss is probably the last battle you want to take on at the end of a long day, especially when just brushing teeth can be a struggle. But flossing is an extremely important part of children’s oral health. Dental floss cleans 40% of tooth surfaces brushing can’t reach. Between the ages of two and four, when teeth in the mouth start touching, kids can and should be introduced to dental floss.
When it comes to teaching kids about oral health, creativity goes a long way. Here are my three favorite tips for teaching a child how to floss.
Kids Flossing Tip #1: Use Visuals
Dental floss doesn’t automatically make sense to kids. This is why visuals are a great tool for teaching kids how to floss.
To demonstrate the importance of flossing and good oral health, have your child watch as you dig your teeth into some chocolate. Next, floss your teeth to demonstrate how well dental floss removes leftover food particles. Once she is thoroughly intrigued, break out a dental flosser pick (little kids find these easier to handle) and try it out on her teeth.
Kids Flossing Tip #2: Give Rewards
As a parent, you know how well positive reinforcement works on kids. They love when something fun waits for them at the end of a task. Why not use this same idea for your children’s oral health? Create a chart and give your child a gold star each day she flosses. At the end of the week, reward her with a fun activity or a small toy. She’ll consider it a fun game, but you’ll know that, secretly, she is building solid habits and learning how to floss.
Kids Flossing Tip #3: Create Activities
This is one of my favorite oral health activities for kids of all ages! All you need is playdough, a large Duplo block, and some yarn. The block represents the teeth, the playdough represents food and gunk caught between teeth, and the yarn is the floss.
Use the yarn just like dental floss to show your kids how easily it removes food from teeth. This is a great visual, and kids love jamming the dough in the blocks. Plus, not only do you teach your child how to floss, but you’ve found a way to occupy her for a solid ten minutes — win, win.
Need More Help Teaching Your Kids How to Floss?
These tips are a good starting point, but always reach out to your dentist if you hit an impasse when teaching your child how to floss. Your dentist has even more tips and tricks to make dental floss fun for kids.Need a dental plan for your little flossers? Choose one of ours.