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Flossing can be a hassle for parents and kids alike. Here are some tips to get a little more enjoyment out of everyone's least favorite part of preventative dental care.
The right tools
Flossing can be a messy and unwieldy affair, especially when trying to work into those back molars. For children, the task is even more trying. Fortunately, companies are always looking for ways to make the task a little more pleasant. Floss picks are a handy solution - these disposable plastic handles resemble a slingshot, with a little string of floss tautly strung between two prongs. These floss holders are easily maneuverable with just one hand, great for both children and adults.
For adults or children with braces, water flossers offer another approach to plaque buildup. These devices shoot concentrated streams of water between teeth, meaning a good clean without irritation to the gums.
Discovery Health recommended making flossing more than just a chore for kids by incorporating songs, stories and games. A fairy tale can turn the task into the adventures of heroic floss against evil plaque and tooth decay, prompting kids to get involved. Adults can take their part in the story by making the fight against bacteria a team effort.
For especially young children, flossing can be used to learn to count, Discovery Health further suggested. Counting teeth while flossing can help kids learn to count to 20. Parents can make the counting game a little more challenging by having kids also count down, or start at 20 and work their way even higher.
Fun songs can also help kids keep a steady rhythm as they work the floss between their teeth. More consistency means a cleaner mouth. This technique can also be helpful for adults who rush through the task. Adults need only put on their favorite song and commit to flossing the entire way through. Music also has the side benefit of getting parents and kids energized for their day.
Flossing charts can be a great motivator for children. By keeping track of their daily flossing with stickers on a weekly calendar, kids can more easily see their accomplishments. Parents can set flossing goals for their kids, and reward them if they are met. Some good prizes are extra bedtime stories, a small sweet or a fun game, though parents are only limited by their imagination. Adults can have their own charts to keep them honest, and can even make it a competition with their kids to see who is the champion flosser.
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