Should You Floss Children's Teeth?
Updated: Sep 7, 2019
A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for ensuring that your child has a good standard of oral health. This means that, as well as brushing your child’s teeth, you should also help them to floss. In this post, we’ll cover when you should start flossing your child’s teeth and how you should start doing it.
When Should I Start Flossing My Child’s Teeth? You can begin to floss your child’s teeth while they still have their baby teeth. Children develop at different rates, but generally speaking, your child’s teeth should start fitting closely together between the ages of two and six. Once this process begins, you can get your child into the habit of flossing daily. To floss their teeth, use a soft and flexible floss that is comfortable on their teeth and gums.
To begin with, because flossing requires a reasonable degree of dexterity, you will have to floss for them, teaching them how to do it as they get a little bit older. This will help them develop good flossing habits while they still have their baby teeth and will mean that, once their adult teeth come in, flossing will already be part of their daily routine.
Your child will probably develop the ability to floss independently at around the age of 10, but you should always supervise them.
How Do I Teach My Child to Floss their Teeth?
To help your child hold the floss, tie it into small circles at each end so they can fit their fingers through the loops. Once they’re comfortable holding the floss like this, you can get them to follow three simple flossing steps:
Provide them with around 30-40cm of floss and wrap it around each middle finger, leaving about 3-4cm of floss between.
Guide them to slide the floss gently between their teeth with the thumb and index finger holding the floss taut.
Once the floss is between the teeth, ask them to wrap it around each tooth in a “C” shape, very gently moving it up and down the sides of each tooth and under the gum line.
By following these simple steps, you should be able to easily integrate a flossing routine into your child’s schedule. Although you’ll be required to help them until they develop the dexterity, they’ll soon be able to do it themselves when supervised.
Making Flossing Fun for Children
As well as teaching your child the importance of good oral hygiene, you should also teach them that brushing and flossing can be fun.
Many parents choose to listen to fun songs and sounds to help with this. Plus, if you can find a song that’s two minutes long, then you can also use it as a timer. You can also try to find a fun toothbrush for your child to use, perhaps one that’s shaped like their favourite character?
By using child-friendly flossers (speak with Brisbane Dental if you are unsure) that are specifically designed for small mouths and sensitive gums, you can also ensure that flossing doesn’t hurt their gums.
Finally, you can also develop a reward system for your child. Something as simple as a star chart placed next to the sink can be a great incentive.
As well as brushing and flossing regularly, your child should also have a regular dentist appointment. At Brisbane Dental, we’re family-friendly and love treating children. If you’d like to schedule your child’s check-up, then please call us on 07 3236 2984 or contact us.