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When Should a Child Start Flossing?

“Don’t forget to brush and floss!” This is something we tell our children often, but many with small children and toddlers may ask, “When should my child start flossing?” Here is more information, presented by our family dentist, Dr. Froning.

What Age is the Right Age?

Flossing removes plaque from between teeth. Yet, babies and toddlers have wide gaps between their teeth and generally don’t get food stuck between them, so all they need is for their teeth to be rubbed with a soft cloth once or twice a day.

As more teeth come in between the ages of one and two, introduce a soft child-size toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Use a small pea-size dab of children’s toothpaste on the brush. Teach your toddler or child how to hold the toothbrush and use it with slow, circular motions. Parents should always supervise and can even demonstrate how they brush their teeth with their own toothbrush.  Likely, your youngster will be interested and want to imitate you, so allow them to observe and ask questions. You can even turn it into a game with a song to make sure they brush long enough.

Every child is different, but usually between the ages of two and six, all their teeth have come in and are closer together. This is the time to include flossing in your child’s daily dental routine. Flossing is more complicated than brushing and requires more coordination, so more supervision is necessary. Most parents start out flossing their child’s teeth for them, until the youngster is coordinated enough to do it on their own. Dental flossers are really useful for children, because they are easy to hang onto. The floss in the flosser stick is pre-measured and will not break, so many parents find this to be a convenient and effective option when children are learning to floss. (Dispose of flossers properly to avoid choking risks.) Older children should switch to woven dental floss, because it is gentler on young gums.

Good dental habits early in life ensure healthy mouths and confident smiles! When you combine good oral hygiene at home with quality professional care at a dental office, your children benefit. Contact our Littleton family dentist to schedule an appointment for your little ones.

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