Flossing for children

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?

  1. TRADITIONAL FLOSS: comes in different varieties: flavored & unflavored, waxed & non-waxed, and nylon & monofilament.
  2. FLOSS HOLDERS: can be easier to use, but more expensive than regular floss. There are short & long handle options.
  3. WATER FLOSSERS: great for cleaning areas the toothbrush can’t reach, but should not be used as a replacement for flossing.

helpful flossing techniques

  1. Try a flosser instead of a regular floss to have more control
  2. Use a non-flossing finger to retract your child’s lips
  3. Gently ease the floss in between the teeth
  4. Wrap against the side of each tooth
  5. 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!

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