Things get passed down from generation to generation.
Maybe you have your grandpa’s nose, your mother’s wedding dress, or maybe even your dad’s smile. But what we pass down to our children doesn’t necessarily just have to be some family feature or heirloom. We can also pass down information that we learned as children to our children.
And that includes learning how to floss.
Today, our McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental want to relay to you the importance of teaching your children how to floss at an early age. That way, your children can develop a healthy habit that will help preserve their teeth throughout their lifetime.
Why Flossing Matters
It is important to realize just why flossing matters so much in the first place if you are going to teach it to your children. As you may have already guessed, flossing is necessary to preserving your child’s teeth – even their baby teeth.
Baby teeth are essentially placeholders for when your child’s permanent teeth grow out, and making sure that your child’s teeth are clean by brushing and flossing helps to reduce decay-causing plaque. Getting your children used to brushing and flossing early—even as early as 2 to 3 years of age—can help instill good dental hygiene habits that will follow them as they grow older.
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The Perfect Time to Start
If your child is under 5 years of age, they may not have the finger dexterity to floss on their own, so you may have to help them with it. When their teeth begin to form closer together, take the time to sit down with your child and do it for them. Focus on moving up and down the side of the tooth, not back and forth, and use another clean portion of floss when moving on to the next tooth to avoid reinserting food and plaque.
Do this every night until it becomes a habit. Again, consistency is the key to success here.
Once your children have become accustomed to flossing, have them take some floss—about 12 to 18 inches long—and play a little game with them. Hold your hand out with your fingers together and have your child try to floss in between them. Your child will want to form a “C” around your finger with the floss while gently moving up and down the finger, not back and forth.
For visual guidance, you can even slip on a rubber glove with peanut butter or some other type of paste smeared between your fingers and have them dislodge it. Again, focus on up and down motions when doing this.
Inform them when they are flossing too hard, as you don’t want them to harm themselves when they begin to floss on their own. During this time, it would be a great way to explain the importance of flossing to them and how it will save their teeth from tooth decay.
It will be only a matter of time that your child will want to floss for him or herself, and give them a little friendly reminder every day from then on.
Don’t forget that dental checkups are just as important as daily brushing and flossing.
At WhiteWing Dental in McAllen and La Feria, our focus is on delivering the best quality dental care for you and your family. We recommend that you take advantage of the summer season and visit us at one of our dental offices in McAllen or La Feria today..