Teaching Your Child to Floss

Flossing is an essential part of every child’s oral health routine, and the earlier you get your child flossing, the better oral health they’ll enjoy. Flossing helps to remove plaque between teeth and along the gum line where a toothbrush is unable to reach. Arm kids with the right flossing techniques and they’ll have the dental hygiene skills needed to keep their smile looking great for years to come.
When Should Children Start Flossing?
When should you start working with your child on flossing? As soon as your child has tooth surfaces that are touching, you should start teaching them how to floss. When teeth are touching, kids need to be flossing once a day. Food and plaque can settle between your child’s teeth, resulting in bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Even if your child is only two or three, getting started with flossing is a great idea. They’ll need plenty of help and supervision at first but eventually, they’ll have the coordination and the know-how to take care of flossing on their own each day.
Choosing the Right Flossing Products for Kids
One of the best ways to make flossing more appealing and fun is to choose the right flossing products for kids. You can find floss in many different exciting colors and kid-friendly flavors. Take your kids to the store with you and let them pick out floss they like. They’ll be more likely to enjoy flossing if they get to pick out fun flossing products. Make flossing as easy as possible by using a floss holder or a pre-threaded flosser. Remember, you want to make flossing a fun experience, not a stressful one.
Tips for Teaching Kids to Floss Properly
Use these tips to teach your children how to floss properly:

  • Begin by choosing a dental floss that is pliable and soft so it won’t hurt your child’s gums.
  • Take 18 inches of floss from your roll of floss.
  • Wrap most of the floss’ length around one finger on your child’s hands. The rest should be wrapped around the same finger on your child’s opposite hand where it can collect used, dirty floss.
  • Ensure the floss is taut, but avoid making it too tight on your child’s fingers. Fingers shouldn’t turn purple or blue.
  • Show your child how to gently glide the piece of floss between their teeth using a gentle rubbing motion that goes back-and-forth.
  • When the floss gets close to their gum line, have your child curve the floss into a C shape, sliding it down into the area that is just beneath their gum.
  • When moving to the next area, advance floss so you are using a clean piece of floss. Continue repeating this process for every tooth.
  • After flossing, it’s a great idea to finish up with a child safe mouthwash. Make sure that kids don’t swallow the mouthwash. A good mouthwash designed for kids will have a fun taste and make it easy for kids to measure out the right amount of mouthwash for regular rinsing.

The Importance of Supervision
Don’t simply show your child how to floss once and then turn them loose with the floss. They can damage gums if they don’t floss carefully. Make sure you supervise your child until they become experts at using the proper flossing techniques. It’s essential that they get between all of the teeth. Starting a good method from the start is important since they’ll probably use this flossing method for the rest of their lives. Supervision will ensure your child doesn’t get into bad habits from the start.
Adding flossing to your child’s regular oral health routine will offer benefits that will last a lifetime. Of course, while they are young, it’s easy for kids to forget to floss, and some children may be too lazy to floss. Make sure you continue to check in with your child, ensuring that they are actually flossing once a day for optimal oral health. Flossing along with brushing can help to prevent gum disease and cavities, keeping your child’s teeth healthy and beautiful. If you’re having a tough time getting your child to catch on to proper flossing techniques, consider having your pediatric dentist show your child how to properly floss at the next routine dental appointment.