GumChucks: Practicing Kung Fu While Flossing – November 7, 2013
Quite unlike my last post which proved to be a fraud, this latest real offering features a fascinating new product which will most assuredly make flossing fun for your child.
We make a big deal at our preventive care visits to stress the importance of flossing on a daily basis. Not only can children get cavities in between their teeth, but because baby teeth are much smaller, and have a thin outer layer of protective enamel, these cavities can get very large very quickly. Whereas a cavity in a permanent tooth can take years before it becomes a problem, in baby teeth, cavities can go from tiny to huge in a matter of months.
When baby teeth first grow in, there tend to be quite a bit of spacing between the teeth and so for the most part, flossing is not as crucial. However, for children as young as age three, the spaces between the back molars can close, and like adults, food can get trapped between the teeth, and if not cleaned or flossed out, can lead to cavities.
Most young children do not have the hand-eye coordination to floss, and need assistance when it comes to flossing. One of the issues that arises is that if a parent is to help, one has to get around the small mouth-large fingers conundrum. We agree that it is hard to floss your child’s teeth the old fashioned way so we usually recommend using floss holders.
GumChucks are a new entry to the marketplace. They resemble miniature nun-chucks and feature disposable tips that are equipped with 3/4 inch piece of dental floss. The developers of GumChucks recognize the challenges of flossing, primarily that it’s really not fun, and is hard for young children.
They have tried to address the ‘fun’ issue by appealing directly to children through iPad/iPhone applications (the all important GumChucks “Weapons of Plaques Destruction” game), trading cards, coloring books, requisite facebook page, t-shirts and colorful, fun design of the GumChucks themselves. The design of the GumChucks makes sense as the large handles are helpful to both parent and child and make flossing a cinch.
Currently, it looks like you can only purchase their product online. While the cost of GumChucks would not fall under the category of “A Good Value” since you will have to purchase floss tip refills (kind of reminds us of the cost of disposable razor blades), it does make sense for parents who need some help in motivating their children to floss.
A big thanks to Jill Lasky, D.D.S, a fantastic pediatric dentist out in Los Angeles (and who attended the same pediatric dentistry program as yours truly at Childrens Hospital Boston) who alerted me to GumChucks!
Oops, almost forgot…. a few links for those of you who need more information!
For our instructional video on flossing: http://bit.ly/1dQHccQ
For Gumchucks: http://www.gumchucks.com/