Does your child hate flossing? Convincing them that the practice is necessary can be frustrating, especially if you feel like you’ve already tried everything.
Look for an Arlington pediatric dentist who will walk with you, every step of the way. Guiding your child to understand how important flossing is takes work, but it’s worth the effort.
Here are some tips for how to work with your pediatric dentist to help your child build good flossing habits.
Explain It in a New Way
Even if you’ve told your kids a million times that flossing will help take care of their teeth, it may not mean anything to them. The consequences aren’t always a concept they can understand.
Threatening them with horrible mental pictures of what happens when your teeth rot doesn’t work if they can’t visualize it. Plus, you don’t want to scare your kids.
Visit a pediatric dentist in Arlington or a pediatric dentist in Hurst. They’ll take the time to talk to your kids. Explaining things in a new way so that kids can understand helps them grasp the idea that flossing is important.
From words pictures they can visualize to 3D models and basic words, helping kids learn about their teeth is a priority.
You can help by listening to how the dentist explains flossing to your kids. Take note of the vocabulary they use and their approach. Then use the same tactics at home when guiding your kids through brushing and flossing.
Start Early at an Arlington Pediatric Dentist
A good Arlington kids dentist like Park Place will encourage you to start flossing your kids’ teeth early in their lives. As soon as they start getting teeth, you can introduce them to the idea of the dentist.
Find a teether toy for infants that looks like a toothbrush. The soft rubber bristles will feel good on their gums as they cut new teeth, but you’ll also have an object to teach them about dental care.
The American Dental Association recommends taking your baby to the dentist as soon as they get their first tooth, or no later than age 1. While this may seem early, it will help them learn that the dentist isn’t someone to fear, and they’ll understand that the dentist is there to help them. Visiting early and regularly will normalize dental care.
Start flossing early, too. As soon as they’ve got several teeth next to each other, start flossing. Even if there are significant gaps between the teeth and food doesn’t get caught there, the practice will help your kids grow accustomed to the feeling of floss. Be sure to help them until they get old enough to handle it on their own.
Make It Fun
Use a rewards system for your reluctant flosser. Much as you would for potty training, set up a sticker chart to help them see their progress. Every day that they floss, give them a sticker to help them work towards a one-week or one-month goal.
Decide together what their prize for achieving their goals should be. Try to veer away from candy and other food-related prizes that aren’t good for their teeth. Many sugary treats get stuck between the teeth and work against the good flossing work you’re trying to teach them.
If your child isn’t motivated by stickers, try a gemstone collection. Like the Hogwarts house points in Harry Potter, collect gems or stones in a jar for every time your child flosses. After the jar is full, award the prize.
When you’re looking for a kids dentist in Arlington, look for one that helps make flossing fun. Ask your child’s dentist about flossing alternatives like water jet flossers or one-time use floss picks. These might be more fun for the kids if your dentist approves them to help clean their teeth.
Teach Them Right
Make sure you ask your pediatric dentist to show your kids the right way to floss. Ask them to explain that flossing the wrong way won’t help protect their teeth as well as the right method.
Help them follow these steps when you’re flossing at home:
- Use at least 18 inches of floss
- Wrap the floss around the ends of two fingers, leaving 1-2 inches for use on your teeth
- Gently push the floss between two teeth
- Guide the floss to wipe each tooth
- Curve the floss into a C shape to match the curve of the tooth
- Don’t push the floss into your gums
With these tips, you’ll effectively clear the food particles. Keep your teeth free from plaque and bacteria that feed on the gunk between your teeth.
Kids learn by watching, so they’ll appreciate a role model. Floss your teeth when they can see you, and try to make it a family activity. If you have older children, ask them to floss their teeth at the same time that you’re flossing your younger kids’ teeth.
If everyone is doing it, your child won’t feel singled out or different. Be sure you and your family don’t talk about how much you dislike flossing or what a pain it is. Encourage your younger kids by working together to create good feelings associated with the practice of flossing.
A Bright Smile
Finding an Arlington pediatric dentist for your child who will help reluctant flossers doesn’t have to be hard. Follow the tips above, and check out Park Place Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. The search is over—we’ll help your child understand the importance of flossing.
Contact us today for an appointment or to learn more about our philosophy for taking care of your kids.