Little girl flossing her teeth

What Age Should Kids Start Flossing?

Oral care has a major impact on one’s overall health. Navigating your children’s oral care habits can be confusing when they are younger. Making sure their teeth and gums are cared for effectively when they are younger can instill good oral care habits and keep them healthy. Below you will find some helpful tips regarding when your child should start flossing, why it’s important to incorporate children’s flossing into their routine, and what methods can be used to effectively floss their teeth. Keep in mind that there is a lot of research on children’s flossing with information that can vary. If you have any questions about what is best for your child, contact your Encino family dentist so they can provide their medical advice based on the unique needs of your child.

Why is Children’s Flossing Important?

While consistently brushing one’s teeth is a necessity, brushing alone cannot do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to removing harmful plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Again, your child should be brushing at least twice a day. However, flossing is important as it removes plaque in hard-to-reach places like in between teeth and under their gums. Flossing also can help remove any food left behind, help polish the tooth’s surface, and help with minimizing bad breath. Overall, flossing is an integral part of keeping teeth and gums clean and healthy.

When Should Children Begin Flossing?

There is no specific age, but most dental professionals suggest flossing when your child has two teeth that touch. Depending on how your children’s teeth develop this could be anywhere between the ages of two and three. Flossing is not necessary before this.

Once you begin flossing your children’s teeth they may want some independence and to floss on their own. Keep a close eye on how well they are able to do it as many children need help with flossing until they are around eight to ten years old. It’s important to remember that you should consult with your child’s dentist about flossing and follow their dental advice as they know your child’s dental history.

Tips for Children’s Flossing

Your child should floss at least once each day. Flossing should take around two to three minutes to effectively get through their entire mouth. Because flossing is the most important way to fight pesky plaque, make the process fun for your child. Once you begin the process have them help you pick out which kind of floss they want. There are a wide variety of flosses, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored, unflavored, wide, thin, textured, and smooth. Depending on your dentist’s recommendations, have your child choose the one they want within those parameters.

There are multiple flossing methods, but the most common is the spool method. Depending on your child’s age, they may need help at first. However, if they can do it on their own that’s completely fine. Below you will find some helpful steps for the spool method to get your child started on flossing.

  1. Cut off a piece of floss about 20 inches long.
  2. Wrap each side of the piece of floss around your middle finger (wrap lightly).
  3. Move the floss between teeth with your index finger and thumbs. The motion should up and down and bend in a C shape as to move with the curve of one’s teeth. Go below the gum line to ensure you have effectively reached all of the necessary spots between one’s teeth.
  4. Rinse or use mouthwash to flush any residual debris out.

Dentists in Encino, California

If you are worried about your child’s teeth or just want to make an appointment to get some professional advice, contact Encino Family Dental. We are experienced in Encino pediatric dentistry and have been serving the area for years. Contact our team today for an appointment!

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