Getting Your Preschooler Started With Flossing

It's important to teach your child good dental hygiene from an early age.  The habits that he or she makes now will be habits that are carried into later life.  Plus, getting a child started on dental hygiene can prevent costly dental bills down the road!

Teaching your child to brush is relatively straight-forward - but what about flossing?  Flossing requires certain fine motor skills and your child probably won't be able to floss until the age of eight or nine.  But that doesn't mean you can't get your preschooler started on it now - and in fact, doing so is a very good idea.

Start by setting a good example

If you don't floss yourself, then your child probably isn't going to be particularly cooperative about having a strange piece of string in their mouth.  Have your child watch you brush and floss, and explain that this is what you do to keep your teeth clean.  Don't make it seem like a chore or a scary thing, but something to look forward to so you can show off your shining smile.

Help your child floss

Remember, a preschooler isn't old enough to floss on their own yet.  Fortunately, there is a method that you can utilize to floss for him or her.  First, have your child sit on your lap facing you.  Next, take about eighteen inches of floss, wrap one end around each of two fingers, and gently floss your child's teeth.  Remember to let your child know to stop you if they are feeling uncomfortable.  Move up and down and side to side on each tooth - including ones in the back that are hard to reach.

Make it fun!

Helping your preschooler floss can be a stressful situation either because the child is scared or simply doesn't want to participate.  Offer a reward for a job well done or turn it into a game.  Maybe your child can place their hands on yours and "help" you to do the job.  Or have your child to imagine that they are a dinosaur or shark getting their teeth "sharpened."  The only limit here is your imagination!

Keep up on the dentist visits

Don't slack on your child's dental care just because the teeth aren't permanent yet.  Your child's current teeth will have to serve him or her well for the next ten years.  Save both yourself and your preschooler a lot of trouble later on down the road by getting your child started on flossing today!  Contact a local pediatric dentist, such as one from Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, for further assistance.