2 Steps to Get Your Child Flossing

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Parents: Do your children actually floss?

When dentists ask this question,
they usually get a dishonest answer.
The truth is, we don’t floss like we should,
and like our dentists tell us to. Children included.
And we don’t do it because we don’t like to do it.
Among adults, 36% would rather
do something unpleasant than floss.
These activities included washing a sink full
of dirty dishes (18%), cleaning the toilet
or waiting in a long checkout line (14%),
and sitting in traffic for an hour or doing their taxes
(9% each). So what can we do, and what can parents
do to ensure their children floss?
It’s not enough to simply decide to floss more, obviously.
There are some ways that we can help our children.
And they are not complicated, either.
Here are two simple steps to get children flossing.

1. The Wake Up Call

There’s a reason we are calling step one
“the wake up call.”
If your children don’t floss (like most of us, apparently),
here’s what you can do: when you they are available,
have them floss really quick. But after they’re finished,
do not throw the floss away!
Instead, have your child smell the floss. More precisely,
smell what was just pulled out from between their teeth.
Perhaps you can take a selfie of their facial reaction, while
you’re at it. How does it smell? Pleasant?
Like roses? Quite the contrary.
It’s foul, to say the least. It might smell like
something died. It’s nasty and gross.
So ask yourself, do you want your child’s mouth to
smell that way? You think it’s a good thing?
Probably not.
That’s why I call this step the “wake up call.”
Because that smell will wake you up, literally.
And because it wakes you up to what is left
in between teeth by not flossing. It’s unpleasant truth.
That’s the first step.
Next, we get practical.

2. Product Placement

If you’re like me, you won’t do something
unless it’s conveniently located.
That’s the whole thing behind remote controls.
Is it such a big deal to walk five feet to the TV?
Apparently, yes. We vote with our feet (literally).
Connect this principle to the discipline of flossing.
Would children be more likely to floss if they didn’t
have to walk to the other end of your home? Probably.
We are more likely to do something simply because it’s
close. This applies to flossing as much as anything else.
So how can you eliminate distance for your children
and make flossing more convenient?
Placement. Place the floss everywhere.
Think about where your kids spend most of their time.
Put floss there!
Some examples:

  • The table where they do homework.
  • Somewhere near the TV or computer.
  • The kitchen.
  • In the car.
  • Their backpack, bag, or purse.

It’s simple, easy access. It’s convenient.
If it’s where they’re at, then they don’t have to
expend extra effort to do it. And there goes
one more excuse for not flossing.
It was right there, in front of them.
You know what they say, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
If your floss is everywhere you are,
then it’s in sight, and on your mind.
This will help your children floss every day.
And hopefully they won’t feel like lying to
the dentist about flossing, anymore.

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Future Articles:

  • Ask the Dentist to Explain
  • Who Owns Your Pediatric Dentist?
  • Don’t Lie to the Dentist
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Respiratory Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Heart Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Osteoporosis
  • Mom’s dental disease connection with premature birth

If you have concerns, from how to find a dentist, how to know when to get a second opinion, how dental disease affects your children’s health, please submit a request via comment or email.