We know that you do everything you can to make sure your children have healthy and bright smiles. You bring them in for regular dental check-ups, you brush their teeth, and you do your best to protect them from cavities.
Most parents know that their children need to start cleaning their teeth as soon as they come in, but do you know when you should start flossing your child’s teeth?
At Sunshine Dental, our team is here to help you take care of your child’s smile. During their dental appointment, we can guide you through a proper hygiene routine and help you with any questions or concerns you may have. In the meantime, keep reading to learn about why flossing is so important, when to start flossing your child’s teeth, and how to make it fun.
Why Is Flossing Important?
Brushing your child’s teeth is the best way to fight off decay, bad breath, and gum disease, but flossing is equally as important.
Flossing is an important part of your child’s dental care routine because it removes food particles and plaque stuck between their teeth that can be missed when brushing. If it’s missed, it can lead to tooth decay, which can cause problems for your child’s smile the longer it’s left.
When Should My Child Start Flossing?
Creating good flossing habits early in your child’s life is important for a few different reasons:
- It keeps their gums & teeth healthy
- It sets a good behaviour likely to continue throughout their lives
- It helps them think about the importance of oral hygiene from a young age
But how do you know when you should start flossing your child’s teeth? In general, it’s best to begin flossing as soon as your child has two teeth side-by-side.
Your dentist can also help you decide when is an appropriate time to start flossing your child’s teeth. During your child’s next check-up, ask your dentist about your child’s oral hygiene routine. They can go over everything you need to know, and let you know if it’s time to start flossing.
How Do I Floss My Child’s Teeth?
Your child’s dentist can show you and your child how to floss. Until your next appointment, try some of these flossing methods:
The Finger-Wrap Method
- Cut off a piece of floss 8 to 20 inches long
- Lightly wrap each side of the floss around a finger on each of your hands
- Carefully move the floss in between your child’s teeth, using an up and down motion
The Loop Method
- Cut off a piece of floss 8 to 20 inches long
- Tie the floss to form a big circle
- Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the circle
- Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the lower teeth, while using your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth
If you find that the above methods don’t work well, or if your child is old enough to learn how to floss on their own, you can try using a flossing tool. Flossing tools can include pre-threaded flossers, floss sticks, or floss holders.
No matter what type of flossing technique you use, always make sure to:
- Use an up and down motion
- Floss below the gum line
- Pull the floss to make a “C” shape around the bottom of each tooth
This helps to ensure you’re reaching every space in between your child’s teeth, effectively removing food particles and plaque from their mouth.
Make Flossing Enjoyable
If you’re struggling to get your child to floss, here are four ways to make it enjoyable:
Make it Fun
Flossing doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Make flossing fun by making it a time to listen to your child’s favourite music, have a bathroom dance party, or make silly faces in the mirror to encourage your child to enjoy flossing.
Make it a Group Activity
Your child is always looking to you as an example. Show them that you enjoy flossing, and hopefully they’ll find it fun, too! By making flossing a group activity for the whole family, your child will view flossing as a fun activity. Plus, it’s an opportunity to create a little more time in the day for you and your child to spend some quality time!
Reward Your Child When They Floss
If your child doesn’t look forward to flossing no matter how fun you try to make it, a flossing chart might be just the thing you need to get your child on board. You can keep a flossing chart in the bathroom, and every time they floss, your child gets to put a sticker on the chart. After they get a certain number of stickers, offer your child a reward of some sort.
Let Them Choose
Before teaching your child to floss, make an activity out of choosing a special floss or toothbrush. Letting them pick a flavour or colour of floss, or choose a cool new toothbrush. This could be just the thing they need to get them excited about their oral hygiene routine!
Get Help From Your Dentist
At Sunshine Dental, we’re here to help you find an oral hygiene routine that works for you and your child. Book your next appointment with us today so we can work together on making your child’s smile the brightest and healthiest it can be!