Why Does Your Child Refuse to Floss?

Posted on: 27 January 2016

According to the Australian Dental Association, it's a good idea to start flossing children's teeth once their teeth start touching each other. Younger kids may not be able to handle the mechanics of flossing, and you may have done this for them to start with. As kids gets older, you may want to hand over flossing responsibility. This isn't always an easy process for children to master, and some may need additional help or time.

Flossing Freaks Some Kids Out

Some children simply don't like the sensation of flossing. For example, they may not like the feel of the floss between their teeth, and some don't like having to pull the floss out, especially if their teeth are very close together. If children are new to flossing, you may need to be patient with them and allow them to get used to the process. The following tips may help:

  • Show your kids that flossing isn't a big deal by flossing regularly yourself. If children see that you floss as part of your daily dental hygiene routine, they may be more accepting of the process.
  • Don't force children to floss or get angry if they don't like doing it at this stage in their lives. It's fine to explain how flossing helps keep their teeth healthy but don't overreact if they won't floss right now. Making them feel guilty won't make things better and may just make them more anxious.
  • Ask your dentist for advice on ways to make flossing less of an issue for your child.

Flossing Can Be Hard For Some Kids

Some children don't mind flossing, especially if you've done it for them in the past. However, it may be hard for some kids to manage the actual process on their own teeth to start with. For example, they may find it hard to cope with holding a piece of floss in both hands, getting it into the mouth and then using it in between the teeth before extracting it again.

Kids that find the mechanics of flossing tricky may find it easier to use a floss holder. They only need to hold the body of a holder in one hand, giving them more control. They can then guide the prongs at the top of the holder that hold the floss in place around their teeth, making flossing an easier process.

Tip: You can also buy disposable flossers or floss picks, which are smaller one-use versions of holders that come loaded with floss. If you're using these with younger children, check the bottom end of the picks before you buy them. The ends of some picks are very sharp and pointy, making them less suitable for young children.

For assistance, talk to a dentist like Creative Dentistry.