Parent’s Guide on How to Floss Kids’ Teeth
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once per day to prevent tartar buildup, cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. While you probably know flossing is important, and you may even make it a priority for your own teeth, it’s a bit more challenging to instil the flossing habit in your kids.
There might be loads of reasons why your kids don’t like to floss. It may seem like it takes too much time. It may be that they are lazy, and that lack of motivation makes them avoid flossing. They don’t see the importance of flossing, or they could just be flossing incorrectly.
Why Flossing Children’s Teeth is Important?
Flossing is essential for your children because brushing is just not enough. Flossing not only removes plaque but also removes debris from between your child’s teeth and under the gums. Flossing controls your child’s bad breath and also polishes the surfaces of your child’s teeth.
When Should Parents Start Flossing Their Kid’s Teeth?
You can floss your child’s teeth as soon as any two teeth touch each other. Flossing is essential so that you can get rid of the plaque between your child’s teeth and under the gums in areas where the toothbrush just won’t reach, and it will also reach tight spaces.
How To Guide Your Kids’ To Floss
While there are many types of floss you could use on your kid’s teeth, you should focus on soft and gentle floss that will easily slide between your child’s teeth. Here’s how to floss kids’ teeth.
1. Choosing The Floss They Will Use
Floss is so essential to combat tartar buildup, cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. While it might seem like an easy choice, you and your children have many options to choose from, and here are just a few of the dental floss types.
- Waxed and unwaxed
- Flavoured and unflavoured
- Wide and regular
- Textured and smooth
2. Picking a Flossing Method.
Particularly with your toddler or young child, it may take a little bit of trial and error to figure out the best way to floss your child’s teeth. You can try different positions and even test out floss picks to find the flossing solution your child is most comfortable with. Ask your child to look up at the clouds or the sky. With their head resting on your shoulder, gently pull back a cheek to better see the whole mouth as you floss those first few teeth.
- Spool method (Finger-wrap method): With traditional floss, just measure out about 40 cm of floss and hold it between your thumb and index finger, with the floss wrapped around your finger. Guide the soft floss around the curve of the tooth as you work the floss between your child’s teeth. Move the floss up and down one side of the tooth, under the gum, and then up and down the other side of the tooth and under the gum. Then, move to a new section of your floss for every two teeth that you floss between.
- Loop method (Circle method): Start with floss that’s 40 cm long, then tie it into a circle. Place your fingers in the loop, then guide the floss between your teeth, starting on your lower teeth and then moving to the upper teeth. Also, be sure to go below the gum line for each tooth.
- Other flossing methods: With a dental floss pick or floss holder, you use the same general technique with the pre-threaded floss. You just slide the floss down one side of the tooth and under the gum line, then repeat on the other side. While you may slightly change how you approach flossing your child’s teeth, be sure to floss their teeth every day.
3. Flossing With Your Child At First
While the first step involves showing your child how to floss and even flossing for them, your goal is to encourage your kids to learn how to floss for themselves.
4. Let Your Child Floss Alone
Your kids can usually start flossing for themselves around age 8, with close oversight to check that they haven’t missed any spots. Learning to floss takes time and practice, but here are a few tips that will help your kids get the hang of it.
- Show your kids how to floss by demonstrating the proper way to hold the floss and how to floss.
- Try floss picks in addition to traditional string floss to give your child the best chance of success with flossing.
- Floss your teeth every day, and make sure that your kids see you do it.
- Remind your kids to be gentle when flossing to avoid discomfort.
- Make flossing and brushing teeth part of a chore chart, with rewards when your kids reach milestones.
- Practice proper flossing techniques with your kids. Encourage them to use gentle motions to slide the floss between their teeth.
The Rewards are Worth It
Proper flossing does not happen overnight, and neither does encouraging your kids to make flossing a part of their daily health and dental hygiene routine. It takes lots of practice, demonstrations, encouragement, and even some rewards along the way. But the goal is to create healthy habits, and that’s worth the time and effort!