To get kids into the habit of daily flossing as part of a good oral care routine, parents need to make flossing fun and easy. Some kids complain, “Flossing hurts my gums,” but that need not be the case. Kid-friendly flossers are designed for children’s small mouths and sensitive gums. Using age-appropriate products can help young children have a positive association with oral health and get them accustomed to daily flossing.
Here are some other tips for parents to help teach good oral care habits:
- Monitor children younger than 8 years old to make sure they use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing their teeth. And be sure that they spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it when they’re done brushing.
- Make oral care a family event. Brush and floss your own teeth at the same time as your child. You are setting a good example and demonstrating the correct techniques for brushing and flossing.
- Buy the right size. Choose a toothbrush that is the right size and design for your child’s level of development. Toothbrushes for toddlers have wide, easy-to-grip handles, small, narrow heads and soft bristles. Toothbrushes for older children have slightly longer handles to reflect an older child’s improved coordination and larger heads to accommodate growing mouths and teeth.