Many of our patients’ parents say that getting their children to floss every day can be challenging. Although the best time to begin flossing is when they are young, every child can learn to floss and to enjoy the resulting fresh taste. Here are a few tips on how to help your children develop good oral hygiene habits.
1. Start Flossing Early
“Once any two of your child’s teeth touch each other, it’s time to start flossing” (Colgate Oral Care). Flossing removes food particles between teeth and scrapes off plaque between the surface of the tooth and gums to prevent tooth decay. Most children develop teeth before the age of one, at which time flossing should begin. Helping your child become comfortable with flossing at an early age is important.
2. Floss Their Teeth For Them
To floss younger children’s teeth, place them in your lap facing you. The technique is the same, no matter who is doing it. To floss your child’s teeth:
- Take about 18 inches of dental floss and wrap one end around each of your middle fingers.
- Using your thumbs and index fingers as guides, gently slide the floss between two teeth, using a saw-like motion.
- Once at the gum line, pull both ends of the floss in the same direction to form a C shape against one tooth. Pull the floss tightly and move it up and down against one tooth.
- Pull the floss against the other tooth and repeat the motion.
Repeat this for all of the teeth. Be sure to floss both sides of the teeth farthest back in the mouth (Source: Colgate).
- Try Dental Flossers
Little hands don’t have the dexterity to wrap and hold string floss around the fingers nor the coordination to move floss in between teeth so your child may get frustrated and distracted. Kids dental flossers are a very effective tool that kids can use and even 3 year olds can floss their teeth on their own – important to a child who wants to do things for themselves! Flossers designed for children age 5-9 and are available in most food and drug stores.
4. Check Teeth Daily
To reinforce the importance of good oral hygiene your child should watch you brush and floss, as well as older siblings. Be sure to check up on their progress, watch them as they brush and floss and recognize a job well done.
Children who grow up with strong oral hygiene habits usually maintain those throughout their lives. Haring Dental Group is here to support you in helping your family build great habits, so if you need our help please let us know.