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Yes, Your Child Needs To Floss Like You: How To Make The Habit Stick

April 29, 2022

Yes, Your Child Needs To Floss Like You: How To Make The Habit Stick

A brilliant set of perfectly-aligned pearly whites—that is the goal of all parents when it comes to their children’s teeth, but it’s often a lofty goal. Some parents wonder what else they can do to help their kids have perfect teeth, but they can hardly get them to brush their teeth at all!

All parents know that the struggle is real when it’s time for the usual floss and toothbrush routine. Ever since you started brushing your little one’s first baby tooth,  you thought that you did everything right—and you probably did! But why is it that whenever it’s your child’s turn at the dentist, there’s always something they see? Tar buildup, a loose tooth, or—gasp!—a cavity?? 

Parents can only do so much for their kids and, as they grow up, you would want your kids to start becoming more independent. Along with that independence comes great responsibility, and doing things like proper oral hygiene is not just for them to be able to flash a big smile, but also to be able to chew properly, speak with confidence, and prevent bigger oral health problems from taking root. 

In this article, we'll talk about: 

A Child’s Oral Hygiene: A Parent-Child Partnership 

If you’re into gentle parenting, the idea of treating your child as a partner rather than a subordinate to boss around isn’t anything new to you. Gentle parenting and discipline work hand in hand, wherein parents discipline their child in a sense that they teach and guide, rather than punish their child. 

When it comes to your child’s oral hygiene, the rewards-punishment system might have worked for a while, but you probably also realized that the effect fades quickly. Maybe your “brush and floss now, and you get an extra piece of candy tomorrow” might have even been counterproductive—but it’s okay! You did the best you could at the time. 

Employing gentle discipline in guiding your child to brush and floss their teeth is key. The role you play in ensuring your little one’s good oral health depends on their age, from worker to supervisor. How do you go about these roles? With patience, gentleness, and practice.

Turn Brushing and Flossing into a Habit with These Tips and Tricks 

"I love brushing my child’s teeth!" – said no parent, ever. Kidding aside, brushing and flossing your child’s teeth is not at all like going to Disneyland. The good news though is, it can be turned into an easier, “no tears” situation for both you and your little one! Try a few of these tips and tricks:

Give them a choice over what they use. 

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss come in so many varieties nowadays. Toothpaste comes in a variety of yummy fruity flavors for kids to love them, while toothbrushes come in different colors, have characters on them, and some even light up and have a built-in timer! Dental floss such as Piico Kids Floss Picks come in adorable animal or dinosaur designs that make flossing less scary and more fun! When they choose what they want to use, they have a sense of ownership over it and are more likely to use it. It’s as simple as that.

Tie the toothbrushing habit to another good (possibly fun) habit. 

Some experts suggest that for a habit to stick, it should be related to something that will make them feel good. Since toothbrushing for children is recommended twice a day and flossing once a day is ideal, these two habits must be stacked up with another fun habit. Maybe you can put on your child’s favorite song while they brush their teeth in the morning and before bed. Let them choose which cute Piico floss pick character they want to use; maybe the pajamas they wear that night can match their chosen floss pick!

A mother showing her son how to brush his teeth to build positive habits.

Don't feel discouraged when the routine doesn't work out the first time. You can always try another idea!

Listen to a 2-minute song of your child’s choice (approved by you, of course!) while they brush, and another song for when they floss. 

Brushing your teeth for at least two minutes is the standard time to make sure you brush thoroughly, and the same goes for your child. Have them choose a song or a video to watch that lasts for two minutes, then just a song to listen to when flossing. It’s better not to have a video while flossing because the kids or the parents might get distracted and make mistakes while doing it! 

Cavities, bleeding gums, rotting teeth: The common culprits to watch out for (along with some unusual suspects) 

A lot happens inside your child’s mouth that’s invisible to the naked eye, and it’s only until there’s blood in their spit or a painful toothache that it’s brought to your attention. 

Cavities, bleeding gums, and rotting teeth are all indications of improper or incomplete brushing. It’s easy for foodstuff to get in between teeth, especially when teeth are close together, which is the case when kids are between 2 and 6 years old. When food is stuck in your child’s teeth, bacteria will feed on them, causing plaque, tooth decay, and cavities. It can start to hurt when it eats the tooth away and reaches the root of your little one’s tooth. 

A dental concern that some parents need to pay closer attention to is how their child’s teeth grow as well, and if their jaw area can accommodate the size of the teeth that are growing in their mouth. Yes, size matters when it comes to teeth! 

Kids start losing their baby teeth at around 6 years old. Sometimes those permanent teeth are too big for their mouth, and all their teeth end up battling it out for space. Also, do you remember that old wives’ tale about how picking on your teeth will make them grow differently? That is actually true! Some kids unknowingly push their upper front teeth outwards, making them grow in a protruding way. Some parents might brush it off and think that it’s just how their child’s mouth is or that it will correct itself in time, but it can cause an overbite and you might end up needing to see a professional. 

Sitting in the dentist’s chair: When to go and what to expect 

It's advisable that your child sees the dentist at least twice a year for tooth-cleaning and general checkups. During these visits, your child’s dentist might also apply sealants on teeth that are hard to reach with brushing. These sealants will help protect your child’s teeth from foodstuff getting lodged in there, preventing cavities from even taking hold. You might need to make more visits if there are any additional concerns, such as painful gums, suspected cavities, or consultation over tooth growth or loss. 

Depending on your concern, your dentist might recommend for your child to see an orthodontist. An orthodontist handles the positioning of the teeth in your mouth, so if your child has bite problems, crooked teeth, too many teeth, or teeth that are too far apart from one another, an orthodontist can help align their teeth with the jaw, so that they can speak, eat, and chew properly.

A little girl smiling brightly and showing her healthy teeth.

Building positive dental health habits may be challenging but the rewards are surely worth it for both you and your kids.

The Essential Products For Your Child’s Oral Health and Hygiene 

Luckily, it doesn’t take much for your child to have good oral health and hygiene. With these basics, paired with the 2-minute brushing rule and another 2-minute flossing rule, your little one will do amazingly! 

  • Toothbrush. While it’s not necessary for your child to have all the bells and whistles, they do help in making brushing fun, enjoyable, and something they can look forward to doing. An important note: Get a toothbrush that caters to their age, because these products are made with smaller toothbrush heads, softer bristles, and a handle that can be easily gripped by your child. Every little bit counts! 

  • Toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste that your child needs grows over time, so it’s best to consult with your dentist regarding this. Try to also see if they have a recommended brand that’s safe yet effective for kids. 

  • Cup for gargling. As early as possible, teach your child that their toothbrush and cup are for their use alone—no sharing with siblings, or even you! It helps keep everything sanitary, plus it gives them a sense of ownership, making them want to use it more. 

  • Kid-friendly floss. Most adults shy away from flossing because it seems too complicated and they’re not sure if they’re doing it correctly. Thankfully with Piico, you can take the guesswork out! Piico is a dental floss pick that’s designed with kids in mind. It comes with floss that won’t break and that’s not so thick either that it can’t go in between teeth. Not only are they super cute to look at, but they also keep flossing from being intimidating! 

Oral health and hygiene may be daunting for a growing child and for you as a parent, but when you have the right tools and the know-how, it gets easier to deal with. When you stay consistent with oral health as a fun, colorful habit it will become something that your child will want to do on their own. With gentleness, patience, and empathy, both for your child and yourself, you can help your little one build these healthy habits that will last them a lifetime. 

Do you want your child to enjoy their flossing routine? Get them started on Piico Kids Floss Picks and let the fun begin: