It’s hard enough to get your children to brush twice a day without worrying about flossing, but it is just as important. Depending on his or her dexterity, your child may need a little time to learn how to floss properly, however, starting the habit of flossing early can mean great oral health as an adult.
When Should Your Child Start Flossing?
Begin with baby teeth! When the space between your child’s teeth starts to close in, usually around two-six years-old, it’s a great time to start flossing. Parents should try to floss their child’s teeth before they let their child floss their own. This will increase your child’s comfort level with the practice and ensure their gums are being cleaned properly until they become more experienced. Your child will also adapt better to flossing if you show them how you floss your teeth before flossing theirs.
My Child Fears Flossing
Flossing can be scary – it’s new, it goes into a sensitive area within the mouth, and although common, blood may appear at first, which could increase concern. In this instance, we recommend several ways to approach flossing, so your child realizes it’s nothing to worry about.
- Go Floss Yourself – as we mentioned above, parents set the best example. If they see you flossing your own teeth, they won’t worry as much about it hurting them.
- Make it Fun – you can either do the “floss” dance alongside your child to mark the beginning of the ritual or sing a short song to commemorate the moment.
- Fun Flavors – several brands of floss come in multiple flavors to enhance the process. These are safe and may have your child think twice before getting fearful. Make sure the floss isn’t too thick and feels soft to the touch.
How to Floss Your Child’s Teeth
Start with about 18 inches of floss and then wrap it around your index fingers. Approach the back of the mouth first and softly make a “C” motion to get around the tooth and into the surface of the gum. Make sure to be gentle and careful. Floss is a foreign object to your child and if they are already nervous, accidentally flossing their teeth too hard can worsen their feelings. Getting your child to floss takes a lot of patience and dedication as well as steadfast hands!
When You Can Hand Over the Floss
So, you’ve mastered flossing your child’s teeth and are ready to pass them the baton. The appropriate time to do this would be when they are completely comfortable with the process, and can you show you how they do it. If you approve, then great! Floss with them at first to make sure they are getting everything right. If you notice they need to make some tweaks to their routine, you will be nearby to help and coach. And remember, always floss twice per day!
Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is led by top-rated pediatric dentists with locations in Birmingham, Cullman, Medplex-Hoover, Oxford and Pell City. When looking for your child’s dentist, know that we aspire to be the premier provider of pediatric dental services in Alabama. We also provide orthodontics in our Medplex-Hoover and Cullman locations. Beautiful smiles are our specialty!