Learning to floss is a milestone that will influence your children’s dental habits for years to come. That’s why it’s important to do it at the right time and in the right way. Make flossing an exciting, teachable moment and your kids will want to continue the routine. Take a few pointers from a pediatric dentist on teaching your kids to floss.
When to Start Flossing
For healthy teeth and gums, start your children flossing before they have permanent teeth. When their teeth draw closer together (between ages two and six) is a good time to starting teaching your kids to floss. By the time they reach age ten, they will be ready to take over flossing on their own.
How to Floss
There is not a special children’s dental flossing technique or a certain floss, but some tips and tools can make it easier to teach your children to floss.
- To start, tear off an 18-inch piece of dental floss. Use a floss that is soft and pliable so it is gentle on their developing gums.
- Loosely tying the ends of the floss around the child’s middle fingers will help miniature hands get used to handling floss. You can also use a Kid Flosser to hold and help them manage the long piece. Let them choose a design and color that gets them excited about flossing.
- Train them to use the thumb and index finger to glide the floss between each tooth. Remove the tension, but be gentle. Cup each tooth with the floss while moving it from the top of the tooth to under the gums on each side.
- Wrap the used portion around one middle finger and unroll a fresh piece for the next tooth.
- Floss your own teeth and let them watch to demonstrate. Then let them look in a mirror as you floss their teeth. Do this routine with your children until they are comfortable and mature enough to take over.
Healthy Children’s Dental Habits
To support healthy gums along with flossing, get your kids in the habit of brushing their teeth at least twice a day. They can brush again after if they have certain foods, but brush at least in the morning and at night. Kids can also floss more than once, but flossing before bed is most important. While their tender gums adjust to the new practice, flossing once a day is plenty.
Make Flossing Fun
One way to encourage kids to floss is to create an incentive for staying on schedule with flossing. Track your kids’ progress using an app or a make a calendar with them. Give them a reward like sugar-free candy for meeting their flossing goals. One idea is letting them choose dental products with their favorite colors or characters.
Even before flossing, your kids should visit a children’s dental office. Pediatric dentists suggest babies should have their first dental visit when their first tooth makes its grand entrance. FUNtastic Dental would be happy to take care of your kids’ precious pearly whites. We have a way of making the dentist something children get excited about. Contact us today for an appointment!