By the time children are 3 years old, they have a full set of gleaming white baby teeth. For parents, seeing their child's beaming white smile on a daily basis is just one of the many joys of parenthood. However, as soon as those baby whites have settled in, it is your job to ensure they stay healthy. You can do this by introducing oral care methods such as brushing and flossing as early as possible, as well as providing your child with a nutritious diet.
According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), almost 50 percent of kids ages 5 and 6 already suffered dental decay. Much of the blame for this goes to sugary treats and drinks, but even if you do allow your child to occasionally partake of sweets or pop, you can keep tooth decay at bay by teaching your child to floss and brush.
Follow these tips to ensure your child understands the importance and the correct practice of flossing.
Floss Your Child's Teeth
Though it may be quite a challenge to floss a 3-year-old's teeth, try to start early. This not only programs the habit early, but it also provides an alternative to brushing, which comes in handy when trying to clean between teeth that are close together.
Teach Your Child How to Floss
Just as you would with brushing, you should instruct your child how to floss from a young age. They will be clumsy at doing so for a number of years; however, keep at it and do most of the flossing yourself as young children likely don't have the patience to stand still for so long.
Only Allow Them to Floss When They Become Dexterous Enough
Impatience and lack of coordination is dangerous to gums. Damaged gums recede and leave teeth more vulnerable to decay. Unless your child has excellent fine motor skills, wait until they are older before leaving them to do it themselves; otherwise, supervise and guide.
Don't take days off or allow your child to skip flossing. Create the habit and stick to it. If you aren't serious about it, your child won't be either. You are also their role model so make sure they see you flossing regularly as well.
Have Young Children Lie Down While You Floss
For especially restless children, have them lie down as you floss their teeth. Not only will you have a better view of their teeth, but they won't be bouncing around on their feet while you floss.
Consider Using Floss Holders
To make flossing a little more interesting, try investing in a kid's floss holder, perhaps in the shape of a dinosaur or cute character. Floss holders are easier to use for young children and they offer a little more entertainment than a plain length of floss.
Follow these guidelines and your child will appreciate it later. Paediatric dentistry is very important, and with good brushing and flossing technique practised daily, your child will be able to enjoy a full set of baby teeth until its time for their permanent teeth to come through from the age of 6 onward.