How to Floss Your Child’s Teeth (Age 3+)

How to Floss Your Child’s Teeth (Age 3+)
Posted on 12/19/2017

Little girl flossing her teeth

It’s vital for your child to maintain great oral hygiene in order to get a head start on a healthy, lifelong smile. To accomplish this, your child will need to have a good oral hygiene regimen. Not only should your child brush twice every day, but we also recommend teaching your child to floss as well. As your kid's dentist and providers of high-quality pediatric dentistry in and around Chicago and Glenview, we at Yummy Dental & Orthodontics for Kids would like to take the time to go over this important task.

When Should Your Child Begin to Floss?

First off – and quite obviously – your child will need to have teeth before flossing can begin! When your child has two teeth that are touching, it’s an appropriate time to start flossing. This typically occurs between the ages of two to three years old. You should then assist your child with this task until about the age of four or five and then supervise your child until the age of six or seven. In most cases, children won’t be coordinated enough to brush and floss their own teeth until they’re able to tie their own shoes. However, each child is different, so these age estimates can vary.

The Importance of Flossing

Flossing is vital for getting rid of food particles and plaque that has accumulated between the teeth in spots where a toothbrush can’t easily reach. When these food particles and plaque linger in the mouth, they can cause gum disease or tooth decay. In fact, studies have shown that approximately 30 percent of all cavities that children have are between the teeth – an area where flossing can help protect.

Flossing Properly

As your trusted source of dentistry, we’ve provided these following steps to help ensure proper flossing:

  • First, wrap about 18 inches of floss around your fingers with most of them being around the middle fingers of each hand.
  • Use the thumbs and index fingers to hold and guide the floss between the teeth.
  • Curve the floss into a C-shape against one of the teeth and slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until there’s resistance.
  • Scrape the floss toward the tongue against the side of the tooth.
  • Continue this process for each tooth.

If you have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to let your pediatric dentist know. If you or your child is having a hard time with this process, you can use a dental pick instead. These dental picks have small lengths of floss spread between tines on a plastic handle, which makes flossing incredibly simple.

Making Flossing Fun!

Unfortunately, many children aren’t thrilled with the idea of flossing, which is why it’s important to come up with a way to make flossing more enjoyable for them. We suggest doing the following:

  • Allow them to pick out their own dental tools. By letting them choose the floss, toothpaste, and toothbrush that they like, they might be more interested in following through with their daily oral hygiene regimen.
  • Give your child a reward for successful flossing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a toy, a book, a game, a treat, or anything else – just make sure that your child is rewarded for a job well done.
  • Some children are motivated by singing so a fun song might be able to encourage them to floss as well. Feel free to throw in your own flossing-inspired lyrics!
  • You can also floss alongside your child as many children enjoy imitating others, especially their own parents.

Contact Your Chicago and Glenview Pediatric Dentist and Orthodontist!

If you’re interested in learning more about a proper oral hygiene regimen for your child or any of our dentistry services, we encourage you to contact us. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with your kid's dentist, please feel free to give us a call at one of our two convenient locations. Our Chicago office phone number is (773) 281-8100 and our Glenview office phone number is (847) 729-4700. We hope to hear from you soon!