Yes, flossing is safe for kids! In fact, not flossing can prove more harmful in the long run and potentially lead to issues like cavities. Here’s everything you need to know about teaching children how to floss.
When Should I Teach My Child to Floss?
Once your child has three or more teeth in a row, it’s time to start flossing. This usually happens around ages 2-3, but everyone is different — so pay regular attention to when their teeth start coming in. If you’re not sure, you can also always call your dentist and ask.
How to Floss Your Child's Teeth Step-By-Step
1. Tear off about 18 inches of floss and wind one end around one middle finger. Place your other middle finger about 2 inches down from the first, and use the floss between to floss their teeth. You can also use a pre-threaded flosser, if you prefer.
2. Gently guide the floss between your child’s teeth, curving it against each tooth one by one. Do not use force, as this may damage the gums.
3. Repeat until each tooth has been cleaned, and be sure to move down two inches of floss after each tooth so you’re using a clean, dry section each time. If you’re using a pre-threaded flosser, make sure you’re wiping it after each tooth.
4. Once you’ve finished, rinse or brush the teeth to remove any particles or bacteria that may have been knocked loose from the flossing.
When Can My Child Floss By Themselves?
A good indicator for whether your kid is ready to floss on their own is when they have the motor control to properly tie their shoes.
How Can I Make Flossing Fun?
It can be hard to get your child to focus on flossing because of its tedious and repetitive nature. Here are a few things you can do to make it more exciting:
- Let your child pick out their own floss at the store — some brands come in different colors and with fun characters on the packaging.
- Listen to a fun song every time you floss together
- Give pre-threaded flossers a try to make it easier for your child to get the hang of it
- Model flossing to your child, and try to get older siblings and other family members or friends they look up to, to model it too.
Regular flossing is completely safe for children. Building this habit with them early will keep their teeth healthy, their breath smelling fresh and clean, and their smile beautiful as they grow up. And, it can also be a fun bonding activity, if you want to make it that way!
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