When Should Your Kids Start to Floss Their Teeth?
Flossing is a must for taking good care of your child's teeth. Your dentist can tell you whether your child's teeth need flossing. Most dentists recommend that parents start to floss their children's teeth between the ages of two and six or whenever the teeth begin to meet closely together.
Why Do Children's Teeth Need Flossing?
Children need to floss for the same reasons as adults. Flossing removes food and plaque between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing promotes healthy gums, reducing a child's risk of developing gingivitis or gum disease.
Starting a lifelong flossing habit at a young age can present major oral health benefits for your child. Many people struggle to comply with flossing instructions, even in adulthood. If your child develops a healthy routine in early childhood, they will be more likely to maintain a lifelong practice.
Flossing As Part of a Healthy Oral Care Routine
Parents should follow these steps to keep their child's smile as healthy as possible:
- Brush at least twice a day using children's fluoride toothpaste (from the first tooth emerging to age six) or regular fluoride toothpaste (age six and up)
- Floss daily starting when the teeth begin to meet closely
- Model positive oral care habits and let your child watch you care for your teeth
- Keep all dental appointments and have all recommended work done
- Maintain a healthy diet and be aware of excess sugars and starches
Tips to Help Parents Floss Their Children's Teeth
You can use traditional floss or pre-threaded picks with your child. If you use traditional floss, break off 18 inches of floss between your index finger and thumb and use it to wrap around your index finger. Holding the floss, gently guide it between the teeth. Floss both sides of the teeth and under the gum line.
If you care for your child's smile consistently, it will be easier for them to cooperate with having their teeth brushed and flossed. This practice will also make dental appointments easier for your child.
Transitioning to Children Flossing Their Teeth
Allow your child to practice flossing in a supervised setting. Ensure that your child flosses gently to avoid sore gums. Most children can begin flossing on their own when they are about six years old, but even after this age, children will need close supervision to ensure they do a good job.
Monitor your child's entire oral care routine until you are satisfied that they comply with their dentist's instructions.
Call Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis
Sometimes parents feel too busy to floss their children's teeth daily, but flossing is a key element of healthy oral care. Children who floss consistently starting in early childhood will have fewer cavities, less gum disease, and better oral health well into adulthood.
Call one of our two Memphis, TN, offices for oral health guidance and to schedule a dental appointment for your child.