Flossing Fun is really a contradiction in terms for most children. For example, “Flossing my teeth is fun, Mommy.” This was said by no toddler ever in the history of the world. In fact, the act of flossing teeth might mystify and even horrify your toddler. And we all know that dreaded favorite word toddlers master early. When it comes to an activity they would prefer to avoid: “Nooooo, Noooo!”
All parents know that helping a child floss is far from a favorite activity or flossing fun. As we went in search of interesting and fascinating facts to make flossing fun, we came across some amazing facts and tips.
Flossing Fun or Tips to Help You and Your Toddler
Experts have said, “I’m not sure that I’ve ever met a single parent who enjoys helping their kid floss their teeth — especially their toddler. And they have added, “Toddlers are some of the most demanding little people on the planet. And more often than not when they don’t want to do something, they’re not going to do it without a fight. That goes for flossing as well. ”
So perhaps we can make it entertaining enough to help them understand it is an important part of oral hygiene that will help them keep a healthy mouth for a lifetime. Barring that, perhaps the tips below will help them just do it because they enjoy time with Mom or Dad or a Sibling or two.
Flossing Fun Tip 1: The Dance (The Fortnite Dance Challenge)
Now, many of you, parents, are probably aware of the viral kid’s video gaming sensation, Fortnite. Commentators state, “Well, it’s free, it’s fun and it has a very silly, offbeat sense of humor.
While some video games have a realistic, violent visual style, Fortnite: Battle Royale has very bright, almost cartoon-like graphics as well as loads of ridiculous items and costumes, such as space suits and dinosaur outfits.”
Parents: You’ve Got to See The Floss as a Dance
That popular kiddie video is also full of funny little dances, notably for our purposes, “The Floss.” Your toddler might have learned it from his or her older siblings. And they will be happy to teach you. It’s a pretty hilarious dance.
It does resemble flossing moves, using your arms as if you are holding a giant piece of floss. Then, swing them (arms) side to side. And, of course, your body would be the “tooth.” Any musical beat will suffice as long as it is fun.
Also, there is another cute dance that you and kids can have fun. Watch Jack Hartman and the Floss Dance. There are instructions on how to do the dance and a video of children actually doing it. Your kids will enjoy watching and doing it. You may also.
Anyway, we thought we should mention it just in case there was any confusion between dancing and dentistry. And we have a feeling that one or two of our more extraverted parents will attempt to learn the little dance as a fun way to introduce flossing.
Likewise, teaching your child the art of flossing could be considered a dance of sorts, maybe a dance of fun for both of you. And, here at Dentistry For Children, we optimistically believe it should be a fun activity simply because you share time with your child.
Flossing Fun Tip 2: Even Some Animals Can Floss Their Teeth
Did you know some animals can floss their teeth? We thought it would be surprising to know that animals, specifically, baboons, are smart enough to take care of their teeth. They actually floss around and between their teeth with some of their own long coarse hair. (Of course, you can see this natural history behavior on the Internet at this illuminating online resource.
So, this won’t make baboons good family pets, but it is interesting. There’s even footage of baboons who created “floss” out of old broom straws. It’s a fun, story-time “talking point” for you and your child. Happily, however, you and your toddler do not have to resort to such primitive methods for flossing your teeth. Take a look at this informative video.
Flossing Fun Tip 3: Floss Now Comes in Different Forms
Consumer industry has come to our rescue to help teach good flossing habits. Instead of the little white box of floss, today’s child has many options. Flossers come in shapes and colors like animals, cars, and cartoons.
One of our favorite Flossing tips is to take your child to the store and let him or her pick out the flosser of his or her choice. Automatically, this sets up some fun behind the flossing.
After all, if they select the product, they might even begin flossing all by themselves. (It could happen!)
Flossing Fun Tip 4: Teaching Points for Flossing Toddlers (and Everyone Else)
Let’s view a quick primer of flossing explanations:
a. “A is for age.” And Flossing is a key to a healthy mouth at any age
b. For toddlers, it is especially important to floss teeth that are tightly positioned together or overlapping. Guide the floss between the spaces because your toothbrush can’t reach those spots.
c. Erin Isaac, DMD at Winning Smiles Pediatric Dental Care and assistant clinical professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine makes another critical point about flossing. “Also once one tooth gets a cavity, usually the one that’s touching it will get it also…” This is the nature of cavities because bacteria spreads.
d. You have two weapons against those painful “in between” cavities. One is to avoid liquid sugars like sweet drinks. The other is to floss.
e. Put a little anatomy into your floss lesson: According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “Like an iceberg, 1/3 of your tooth is below the gum line. In addition to preventing cavities, flossing helps keep gums healthy by reaching food that tooth brushing alone can’t reach. As soon as your child has two teeth touching, start flossing…”
Flossing Fun Tip 5–The Number One Teaching Tool: You
The only way to be certain that toddlers learn proper technique is to have them watch you do it. This is also where an admired sibling can help you. Most of the time, toddlers want to imitate you and their older sisters and brothers. Let’s make this tendency work for us.
Flossing Fun Tip 6—Making Floss time Reward and Fun Time
Rewards and Fun are a sure-fire aid to motivating children. We would be remiss if we did not include the advice of Adam S. Harwood, DMD, an endodontist practicing in New York City. He advocates a “tried and true” system of rewards when encouraging toddlers to floss.
“Kids respond well to fun and rewards, so if flossing is an issue with your child, try to wrap developing the flossing habit around separate positive reinforcements…” He adds, “Make flossing an integral part of an entire evening’s or morning’s routine for which a reward is associated, like a bedtime story, allowance or a trip to a special activity.”
But here’s his very best little bribe: “And if all else fails, remind your toddler that the tooth fairy only accepts healthy lost teeth in exchange for money, so it’s important that they floss if they hope to one day have a profitable visitation…”
Don’t forget the fun part: For example, show your child the music video with Brushy Bear and Flossy Fox. Or better yet, learn the song and dance and teach it to your children. Of course, there is nothing like a parent trying to sing for entertainment. I bet you have as much fun as your children. (If you are that daring)
According to the AAPD, “some children may only need a few back teeth flossed and others may need flossing between all their tight teeth, depending on dental spacing.” They add, “Children usually need assistance with flossing until they are 8 to 10 years of age.”
Terrific Toothy Take-Aways
First of all, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry president Dr. Joe Castellano reassures parents that sometimes a child just refuses to allow the flossing process.
Some days with a toddler will be like that. He adds, that this is totally normal and that “missing a few days of flossing here and there is not going to spell impending doom for your toddler’s dental health. ”
Secondly, he says, “The best advice I can give is to do it as often as possible. The more the better, but if you can only get in flossing 3-4 times a week, then strive for that.”
Thirdly, if flossing causes real pain, parents should consult their dentist at their dental home to learn a pain-free flossing technique or treat acute oral sensitivity.
Good Oral Health and Happy Memorial Day Holiday
If you and your family are celebrating the great 3 Day American Get-Away for picnics, camping, boating or fishing, do not forget to pack those toothbrushes (and flossers!) And have a happy, safe Memorial Day