If you have a young child then you might have questions involving many areas of dental care, including flossing. Our Ontario dentists are here to help answer the question of when you should start flossing your children's teeth and why it is important.
Why Flossing is an Important Part of Children's Oral Health Care
Teeth are an integral part of overall health and with proper care, many people can keep their teeth for a lifetime. Good oral health habits should begin well before your children's teeth even begin to erupt, which is anytime after the age of six months.
Baby teeth, while serving the main purpose of helping your child eat and speak, also hold the space and help guide in their permanent adult teeth. Parents play an important role in caring for their children’s mouths and helping them develop good oral cleaning habits. You should schedule your child's first dentist visit by the time they are a year old and continue to bring them in for routine dental care yearly.
Cavities are very common in North American children. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
When should you begin flossing your children's teeth?
As soon as your child has their first baby teeth come in you should begin to floss them daily. Once your child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, flossing is an important part of their oral health.
At what age will your child be able to floss their own teeth?
Until your child can floss their teeth on their own, you should help them floss to get them in the habit of flossing daily. Once children are around the age of 10, they should be able to properly floss and care for their teeth on their own.
What are some ways you can help them learn proper flossing habits?
To stress the importance of flossing, and help them develop a good habit of flossing, do it for them regularly until they're able to do it themselves. By adding flossing to their daily oral health care routine you are setting up good habits for once their permanent teeth come in and they begin to perform daily dental care on their own.
Use floss that is soft and flexible so that it doesn't hurt their teeth and is comfortable on their gums.
Flossing is so very important in maintaining healthy gums and teeth, and it is better to start early than late.
How can you help make flossing an enjoyable experience for your children?
To get your child excited about the idea of flossing, set up a simple game or activity to both provide entertainment and an understanding of the importance of flossing. One suggestion would be a peanut butter flossing activity. Put on a rubber glove and allow your child to spread peanut butter between your fingers. Explain how this resembles plaque and food getting stuck in between our teeth when we don’t floss and allow plaque to build up. Then, giving your child a piece of floss, instruct him/her to try and scrape off all of the peanut butter.
By utilizing activities such as this you can help your child visualize the process and in turn, help them want to floss and perform daily dental care on their own.