Have you been wondering about what time you should start flossing your children's teeth? We get asked this question relatively frequently, so here our Camrose dentists explain more.
The importance of oral hygiene for children
Teeth are an integral part of overall health and with proper care, many people can keep their teeth for a lifetime. Good oral health should begin early – even before a child’s first teeth erupt. Baby teeth generally start to peek through the gums at six months of age.
On top of allowing our children to eat and speak properly, their baby teeth also "hold space" for teeth that will emerge down the road. Parents play a hugely important role in caring for their children's mouths and helping them to develop good oral cleaning habits. Your child's first visit to their dentist for a cleaning is recommended before they turn one year old.
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 I start flossing my child's teeth?
You should floss even your child’s baby (or primary teeth). 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.
When can children floss their teeth by themselves?
Until your child can floss their teeth on their own, you should be helping them get into the habit of flossing every day. Children are generally able to floss by themselves around the age of 10.
How can I help them learn to floss?
To help stress the importance of losing to your child and to help them develop a good habit of flossing, do it for them routinely until your child can do it themselves
Your goal should be to establish good, healthy habits of flossing early so that by the time their permanent teeth come in, your child already has flossing as part of their daily routine.
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 to get your child to be enthusiastic about flossing
To get your child excited about the idea of flossing, set up a game for them to provide entertainment and understanding about the importance of flossing. One suggestion would be something called the "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.
This activity, or something similar, can be a great way to entice your child into trying to floss more often.