Children and teens need to floss regularly to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Fossing can be tricky and a bit cumbersome though, and young children in particular may struggle to properly manipulate the floss. Here are some ideas to help make flossing easier for kids and teens.
Introduce your children to flossing as early as possible.
As soon as your children have two teeth beside each other, you can begin flossing between them. Once they are old enough to grasp the floss, you should start teaching them how to use it.
Children who are instrduced to flossing at a young age are more likely to see it as a natural part of their daily routine, and won't question it as they get older.
Choose the right tools.
Make flossing as easy as possible for your child by providing make age-appropriate flossing tools. A five year old may not have the manual dexterity to hold onto regular dental floss, but may be able to manage a dental flosser or even an interdental brush.
Let your child choose the tools.
Take your child to the pharmacy and let him choose which floss he wants to use (this goes for toothbrushes and toothpaste too!). Maybe you can remember the feeling of pride you experienced when your mom and dad let you make your own decision about something important... well, that same feeling can help you kids take more of an interest in their dental health. They'll be more invested in the process if they get to use something they picked out themselves.
Lead by example.
Children and even teenagers are significantly more likely to floss regularly if they see their parents doing it. Make a point of letting your child see you floss carefully every night before bed. Practice what you preach!
Make flossing (and brushing!) a family event.
Gather the whole crew in front of the bathroom sink (if space allows!) for the nightly oral hygiene routine. This is a fun way to keep every family member honest about their oral hygiene, and it’s a small (but surprisingly significant!) way you can get in a little extra quality time together, too.
Try a reward system.
Create a chart and use it to mark off daily flossing. Once your child has reach an agreed upon goal (flossing every day for a week, two weeks, or a month… or whatever interval works for your family), provide a small reward. This can be an oral health friendly treat, some stickers, an extra half hour of TV before bed, or perhaps a trip to the movies. Whatever you like! This can work for children or teens of almost any age... just adjust the reward accordingly.