Did you know that only 4 in 10 Americans floss daily? And 20 percent say they don’t floss at all! This can be disheartening news for parents trying to get their kids to form the good habit. However, we do have some good news: A Brown University study found that the habits kids form by age 9 are likely to stick with them for the rest of their lives. This is why it is crucial to help your children form good dental hygiene habits. But are you at a loss trying to figure out how to get kids to floss? We promise that it’s possible to get even the most strong-willed child to floss.
How to Get Kids to Floss
Explain and Show
Kids are naturally curious. In fact, some kids are more motivated to complete a task if they understand the reason behind it. After all, even adults dislike busy work that doesn’t serve a purpose. So explain to your child why it’s important to floss every day, but avoid using confusing words. Since some kids are visual learners, try using a demonstration. The American Dental Association came up with this fun educational activity, thanks to inspiration from the Nova Scotia Dental Association:
- A jar of peanut butter (If your child has a peanut allergy, you can use a different sticky food product like sunflower butter.)
- A toothbrush
- A rubber glove
- Dental floss
- Put on a glove and place peanut butter between your fingers.
- Hold your fingers tightly together and point them upward. Tell your child to pretend your fingers are teeth, and the peanut butter represents the food and bacteria that get caught between your teeth during the day.
- Next, grab the toothbrush and toothpaste and ask your child to try to clean the peanut butter away, but keep your fingers pressed tightly together.
- Then, spread your fingers apart to show your child how much peanut butter is left between your fingers. Put your fingers back together, and have your child use the floss to remove the peanut butter between your fingers.
- Spread your fingers apart again, and show your child how much cleaner your fingers are now.
The phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” dates all the way back to 1654, and it is obviously not a mantra that will motivate kids to floss. It should come as no surprise that children are likely to mimic the behavior that their parents model. So if you want your kids to develop the habit of flossing, do it with them. Your child might be the accountability partner you need to help you stay on track as well!
Choose the Right Floss
Some children have teeth that are positioned close together, which can make flossing with traditional floss painful and difficult. In order to give your child the best flossing experience, try using a polytetrafluorethylene floss. This floss is thin, glides easily between teeth, and is less likely to shred and break during use.
Although learning how to get kids to floss is important, it is still crucial to bring your children to a dentist regularly. Partnering with your family dentist to care for your child’s teeth can help ensure that his or her smile stays healthy for years to come. Are you looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist for your children? If you live in or near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give your children the personalized treatment they deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your child’s first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!