NEXT TO BRUSHING, the best tool we have for preventing tooth decay and gum disease is daily flossing, which is why it’s important to help our kids develop a flossing habit early on. Here are some great tips for parents with kids who are learning how to floss:
1. Explain what flossing does for their teeth. They will be more motivated to floss if they understand why it’s important.
2. Help them see flossing as one of the coveted Big Kid skills, like tying their shoes or riding a bike without training wheels. They’ll be excited to prove how grown up they are by flossing.
3. If using traditional floss, demonstrate pulling out the right amount (about eighteen inches) and loosely wrapping it around their middle fingers, with just an inch or two left in the middle to slide between teeth.
4. Help them get the hang of good flossing technique. Use a back-and-forth motion and form a C-shape around a tooth to slide the floss down to the gums without snapping. Flossing should be gentle, not painful!
5. Show them how to move the floss along so they’re using clean floss for each tooth. The point is to get rid of plaque, not just move it around!
6. If traditional floss is too challenging, use floss picks or flossers instead.