Dental decay remains the most prevalent chronic (and irreversible) disease in New Zealand, yet we're still not flossing our teeth enough.
Studies  show that flossing your teeth daily can help reduce the amount of gum disease-causing bacteria found in your mouth, therefore helping keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Lead by example and floss yourself, show them how to do it then they can try it. Initially you'll have to redo it for them, but they soon catch on. Start them young: my kids love flossing!Sheena Finn
When should you start flossing?
There's no set age to begin flossing your teeth. Although at around the age of two and a half when most of your child’s teeth have come through, it’s a good idea to get your child in to the habit of flossing at least twice a week. After your child's first tooth falls out (around 6 years of age) children should be flossing at least once a day.
But how do you get your children to floss their teeth when it seems hard even getting them to brush their teeth? We talk to some parents for their tips:
Lead by example
"Lead by example and floss yourself," says mother-of-two Sheena Finn. "Show them how to do it then they can try it. Initially you'll have to redo it for them, but they soon catch on. Start them young: my kids love flossing!"
Start flossing as young as possible
"Start them as early as possible and it becomes the norm," says mother-of-two and ex- dental hygienist Samantha Williams. "I used to do it after cleaning their teeth and then they started doing it themselves. Mind you, some children are better at remembering than others!"
Make it fun
"Make flossing a fun part of their dental routine," says mother-of-three Julia Earley. "You can buy kids flossing things in shapes of animals and other objects, which made my kids enjoy it more."
By instilling positive and daily hygiene habits into your children, you'll help ensure that they continue these into adulthood. Which means they'll be more likely to enjoy healthy teeth and gums for years to come.