Although a bit time consuming, flossing is an often overlooked but vital part of oral hygiene. For children as young as two, at least by the age of six, flossing should become part of a daily routine. Even for baby (or primary teeth), once teeth start growing in proximity to each other, you just don’t want to leave food trapped in there! For extremely young children, you can wrap a warm towel around a finger and gently rub the sides of emerging teeth. A good measure of when you can start using floss is when two teeth touch. Between the ages of 6 and 10, children should begin to floss on their own.
When you first start flossing or resume after a hiatus, your gums may bleed. This is normal, but will hopefully stop within a few days of regular flossing. As a general rule, while it is good to move the floss around both sides of the tooth and ensure full coverage, don’t push into the gums too hard and cause irritation.
Why is flossing even important for children? The buildup of food and plaque can result in the formation of tartar on your teeth. This is especially catalyzed by the consumption of foods high in starches and sugars. Once this stage is reached, it can only be remedied by professional cleaning and removal.
Flossing is really as easy as it seems, but that doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s any less tricky for youngsters to master. Another tip for little fingers is using approximately 18 inches of floss thread. You can loop a little circle at each end, making it easier for kids to grasp and learn to use it on their own. When flossing, follow the natural curve of your teeth (not just a direct up and down movement), this helps remove small particles stuck between your tooth and gum line. Be sure to go beneath the gum line and consciously get the back of your tooth as well, without snapping your gums if possible.
All in all, making flossing a regular and expected part of you and your child’s daily routines is an easy preventative measure for more serious oral problems later. It keeps their smiles bright and clean, just like they should be. Floss more, worry less.