Blog

An Arlington Pediatric Dentist Explains: When Should Your Child Start Flossing?

Park Place Kids

Around 20% of children ages 5 to 11 have at least one cavity that’s untreated. You may think because those baby teeth fall out, your kids can start anew when their decayed teeth fall out.

However, it’s important they practice good dental hygiene from an early age. That way, they can prevent cavities from happening not just now, but also in the future.

Part of practicing good oral hygiene is learning to brush and floss regularly. Kids flossing doesn’t have to be a difficult thing.

In this article, we’ll discuss when your children should start flossing and some effective methods to motivate them to do so.

When Should Your Children Start Flossing?

The first thing you need to know is when to start your kids flossing. You don’t want to do it too early or too late, after all.

Your children will start getting their first teeth between 6 to 12 months of age. Once their first tooth erupts, you should schedule their first pediatric dental appointment. Then, most will have all their baby teeth by the time they’re 3 years old.

So where does flossing fit into this whole picture?

Well, you’ll want to start flossing your toddlers’ teeth when their teeth start growing closer to one another; generally, between 2 to 6 years old. Once they’ve developed some motor skills, you can slowly teach them to floss their teeth by themselves.

Your kids should be able to floss all on their own by the time they hit the age of 10.

How to Encourage Your Kids to Floss

So now you know when to get your kids to start flossing. But trouble is, they drag their feet about anything that’s boring and has to do with hygiene!

Thankfully, your Arlington kids’ dentist is here with some great tips to get your children to get into a good dental routine.

Get Fun Dental Tools

Regular floss and dental sticks are very sterile and boring looking. They’re not very fun to use, certainly not for children, at least.

Motivate your kids to floss by purchasing some cool children’s dental floss sticks. These are usually brightly colored and may even have cool designs or prints of cartoon characters on them. This can help motivate them to use the sticks.

Just make sure they don’t try and hold onto them after each use. Every stick needs to be thrown away straight after usage.

Make It Into a Game

Children love to play games, especially if it’s following the actions of someone they trust and look up to.

Whenever you’re getting ready to floss yourself, you should tell them it’s time to play “Follow the Leader.” This is a great opportunity to see if they’re wrapping the floss around their fingers correctly and getting into all the nooks and crannies of their mouths.

Make sure you have a positive attitude before you start flossing. Kids can pick up on negative energy very easily, and if they can tell you hate flossing, they won’t like it either.

Instead, put on a big smile and feel free to crack a few jokes. Tell them you bet you can have zero pieces of food left in your mouth, and challenge them to do the same.

Do It as a Family

After everyone’s done eating dinner, don’t let everyone scamper away to their own rooms. Sit down to have some dessert, have them help with dishes, and then sit down again to spend some time and digest.

During this time, you can all floss together as a family. You can also use this time to finish any interesting discussions from earlier; kill two birds with one stone!

Not only will you get to spend more time as a family, but your kids will also see that flossing really isn’t a big deal and can be done quickly every night.

Give Them Plenty of Positive Reinforcement

It’s been shown that giving positive reinforcement is much better for improving behavior in kids rather than doling out punishments.

So you might be tempted to take away the PS4 for a night if your kids skip out on flossing for a day. But that’s definitely not the best way to get them to pick up and keep this habit. In fact, this may make them more resistant to the idea.

What you should do is reward them every day they floss. For example, maybe they can get a sticker each day they floss, and once they reach 10, they can pick out a small toy to buy.

Play Them the “I Be Flossin'” Song

Ok, so this song isn’t actually about practicing good oral hygiene, but it’s definitely a popular one with the kids!

This big hit by The Backpack Kid has all the little ones hyped up and dancing to this popular song. So why not play this song for your kids when they need to floss?

That way, they won’t find flossing so boring anymore. Instead, they’ll get excited whenever they hear the song and will have positive memories associated with this task.

Get Your Kids Flossing ASAP

Flossing is an important part of dental hygiene, so you should get your kids flossing as soon as you can.

If you’re having difficulty getting your children to floss, even with all of our tips, then perhaps they need the encouragement of a pediatric dentist in Arlington. It’s important to get your kids accustomed to dentists starting at an early age anyway, so don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us, even before their first tooth erupts.

Are you ready to bring your children in to a kids’ dentist in Arlington? Then request an appointment with us now!