In the loop with kid flossers

March 1, 2007
Go to any elementary school playground and chances are you’ll find children taking turns jumping rope.

by Karen Kaiser, RDH

Go to any elementary school playground and chances are you’ll find children taking turns jumping rope. For many boys and girls, skipping rope is a simple game of exercise and fun. For others, it’s a challenging activity. Of course, the most important tool is the rope. It must be durable and sturdy enough to easily twirl, and sometimes it’s a strong nylon with handles. Jumping rope develops motor skills and improves dexterity. In the same way, a home-care skill that requires skill and dexterity is flossing.

Size for first-rate rope

There are different sizes of jump rope for different ages. A 10-foot rope (recommended for teenagers and adults) would be quite difficult for a kindergartener to manage. Here is a bit of advice. The jump rope length ought to reach from the ground to the underarms when the rope is folded twice over. Using the proper length rope is critical for success in jumping rope.

Likewise, when choosing a flossing product, determine which floss would perform best for the child. When children have too much floss, they cannot easily wrap it around their fingers. This excess string may become a tangled dilemma for the flosser. With children’s dexterity in mind, why not consider toss-away tools, which supply just the right amount of rope?

Children who skip rope often sing-song rhymes as they jump rope. Jumping rope can be done singly or in groups. A minimum of three participants may alternate positions and take turns holding the rope. For many young flossers, assistance with the string is necessary, like having someone hold the rope. Using kid-friendly flossers allows children to floss somewhat independently. These disposable flossers are constructed with little fingers in mind.

There are oodles of tricks using different skills and techniques that a jump roper may execute. Speed jumping while playing Red Hot Pepper is a wild game where the rope speeds up on each loop to make the jumper move his or her feet very quickly so as to not get hurt by the rope. Other fond skipping favorites include rhymes like Cinderella, Miss Mary Mack, or Blue Bells, Cockle Shells. To successfully jump these rhymes takes lots of practice. Flossing also takes practice on the part of the flosser.

Trouble-free flossers

Building a lifelong flossing routine must begin early for children. Disposable flossers may be easier for parents to maneuver in small mouths to show a child that flossing is a daily practice for good health. Because disposable flossers are small, supervision is needed so they do not pose a choking hazard. Adults should not let children under 3 use flossers alone. Disposable flosser guidelines are simple. First, hold the ready-to-use flosser between the thumb and index finger. After that, simply slide the floss gently into the interproximal space, moving it back and forth between the teeth to dislodge bacterial plaque. Repeat this on all teeth, then simply throw the flosser away. Use a fresh flosser for the next oral hygiene session.

Flossing and pleasant are not generally used in the same sentence by those who struggle with the string. Fortunately, flossing can be a simple and fun habit to maintain for kids using disposable flossers.

Johnson and Johnson has introduced a flossing tool that is fun and easy for children to incorporate into their everyday home care. Wild Flossers have kid-sized handles shaped like dinosaurs. Each holder is assembled with waxed nylon floss for easy insertion between tighter teeth. The brightly colored flossers come individually wrapped in a pouch. The box holds 144 flossers and has a cute graphic of a bright yellow dinosaur face with a nonthreatening, rounded tooth. Flossing will not become extinct when using these dinosaur flossing shapes.

Attention-grabbing packaging coupled with cool flossing products may be a hit with patients as well as practitioners, especially when the flossers are dispensed in-office. Such is the case with the flossers from Oral-B. Oral-B Stages Kids’ Flossers come individually wrapped in a counter-friendly dispenser. Each flosser sports a Disney design - Toy Story for the boys and the Disney princesses for the girls. The flossers are colorfully molded into forms children can easily grasp.

Another childhood pastime is coloring. Sunstar Butler’s GUM® Kids’ CrayolaTM Flossers are shaped like crayons. Children are familiar with holding crayons, and the flosser can be gripped similarly. The flossers come in bright colors strung with shred-free, waxed floss that can be effortlessly slid between tight contacts.

With the correct skills, jumping rope becomes easy. Likewise, using a kid-friendly, prestrung flosser is easy. With patience and practice, kids will have plaque jumping through loops.

The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned. Jump online to learn more. Visit,, and www.

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis’ Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].