The Importance of Flossing
Flossing your teeth is one of those things that you are always told to do when going to the dentist. You know you should do it, but I bet it’s safe to say that a lot don’t include it in their oral hygiene. I never really understood the importance of flossing until I saw what a big difference it can make first hand. We took the boys to the dentist a few months ago and I’ll admit that it had been almost 2 years since I had taken them in. My 5 year old had no cavities as of 2 years ago. Upon this visit, we learned that he had 8 cavities. 8!! Every single one of them were between molars. The dentist told us that this can be attributed to a few different things. Too many sugary snacks that sit between the teeth like portable yogurt and fruit snacks, and not flossing. My son has had had half of the cavities filled and we will head back for another visit to do the other half.
I knew that we needed to start flossing both the boy’s teeth, but honestly I was dreading it. They are really great about brushing, but flossing is a whole other story. I’ve tried to pin them down while they were screaming and that doesn’t exactly go over well. Below are a few tips on how to successfully create a flossing program with your child:
1. Buy Fun Flossers – There are flossers made specifically for kids. We have tried the Firefly and Crayola flossers and they both work great. On one end is a plastic handle to hold onto. On the opposite end is a small piece of floss. I showed my boys with a mirror how to use the flossers and helped them for a few nights. Then I supervised them the next few nights to make sure they were doing it correctly.
2. Make a rewards chart – Like anything else, flossing is all about habits. It’s been said that it takes at least 3 weeks to form a new habit. Make a chart for your child that they can put a sticker on each day that they floss. After a month, give a reward of your child’s choice. By that time, it should be a habit!
3. Explain the benefits – I sat down with the boys and told them why they had to floss. We talked about the sugar bugs and how they sneak down in between their teeth to make them sick. By explaining the benefits of flossing in an easy to understand way, they accepting having to do it more freely.
Good luck with your own little flossers!