For a child, flossing should be part of their oral care routine once the teeth start touching. Many times, this is around ages 2-3 when the primary molars erupt. For some, the teeth may touch even earlier than this.
However, flossing can be tough to implement.
Why is flossing so difficult?
- It is a habit that is hard to implement, even for adults!
- It is stressful for parents, especially on top of all the brushing struggles.
- It is low priority with all the other challenges of parenthood.
Tips to help make flossing easier for your child
- Set realistic and achievable goals.
- Start introducing the concept before the teeth touch, so your child won’t fear flossing once they actually need to floss.
- Let your child play with floss or watch you floss.
What if you can’t floss the entire mouth?
- Focus only on the areas where the teeth touch.
- Rotate which location you start flossing.
- Structure baby steps to desensitize your child to the concept & sensation of floss. Ex: One spot first, then add a second the week later.
What are different floss options for children?
- TRADITIONAL FLOSS: comes in different varieties: flavored & unflavored, waxed & non-waxed, and nylon & monofilament.
- FLOSS HOLDERS: can be easier to use, but more expensive than regular floss. There are short & long handle options.
- WATER FLOSSERS: great for cleaning areas the toothbrush can’t reach, but should not be used as a replacement for flossing.
helpful flossing techniques
- Try a flosser instead of a regular floss to have more control
- Use a non-flossing finger to retract your child’s lips
- Gently ease the floss in between the teeth
- Wrap against the side of each tooth
- Move the floss up and down and side to side
I’ve included a video to show how we use these tips and techniques for Olivia!