In addition to brushing twice a day, your child should be flossing every day. Flossing is the key to removing food particles and plaque that can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. When your children are toddlers, it’s easiest to do the flossing for them. However, as they grow older and it’s time to hand over the dental floss, it’s important to teach your children how to floss properly. To help with this, I’m sharing my best tips for teaching children the right way to floss their teeth.
Tips for Flossing Your Kid’s Teeth
Parents should floss or assist in flossing their children’s teeth until they are six. Children five and younger have not quite developed the motor skills to hold and move the floss correctly. These years are crucial for parents to set an example as to how to properly floss the teeth and get them clean.
If you’re teaching your child with traditional dental floss, show them how to grip it between their thumb and index finger on each hand and how to wrap the floss around their index finger to prevent it from slipping. Then, teach them how to move the floss into a “C” shape and gently glide it between their teeth, cleaning both sides of each gap and right under the gumline. Make sure to explain to use a new section of floss when moving from tooth to tooth to prevent spreading bacteria.
For children who have trouble with traditional dental floss, I recommend using dental floss picks for children. Dental floss picks have small lengths of floss strung between tines on a convenient plastic handle. Show your child how to push the floss between the teeth and clean on either side of the gap and under the gumline.
Flossing without a Fight
One of my most important pieces of advice for parents is to start early. If you’re wondering when to begin flossing your child’s teeth, the answer is once they have two teeth next to each other. Introducing flossing early will make it easier to do as your baby grows older. It will be a normal part of their routine like naps, baths, or brushing their teeth.
It may also be beneficial for your child to floss with the whole family. By setting a positive example, flossing your teeth with your child can get them excited about flossing and dental hygiene as a whole.
Just like children’s toothpastes, there is dental floss in different flavors and colors. Letting your child select their favorite color or flavor will help them feel more in control and eager to floss their teeth.
For more advice on teaching your children how to properly floss their teeth, reach out to my team at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry.