At Children’s Dental FunZone, we know how important flossing can be. Brushing alone will not be able to remove all the food debris and bacteria that can be found in between a child’s teeth. In fact, as soon as children are toddlers and their molars begin to contact each other, it is important to start flossing. Flossing is a good supplemental activity to teach a child in order to keep their mouth clean and free from tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Our dentists recommend flossing at least once a day, ideally at bedtime. When your child is ready to floss, choose the method that would be best suited for them.
How to floss
The spool method, or what is often called the finger-wrap method, can be taught as follows:
- Cut off about 18 to 20 inches of floss;
- Wrap each end of the floss lightly, several times around each of the child’s middle fingers;
- With the thumb and forefinger holding onto the slack with each hand, teach him how to maneuver the floss in between his teeth;
- Form a C on the side of one tooth, and begin flossing using an up and down motion.
Another method called the Loop method, or the Circle method, may also be taught to children for flossing.
- Cut off a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long;
- Take both ends of the floss and tie them together to form a circle;
- Show the child how to place all his fingers inside the circle, except for the thumb;
- Tell the child to use his index finger to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and his thumbs to guide it through his upper teeth;
- Form a C on the side of each tooth and begin flossing.
These days, the simplest way to get children to floss is by using commercially available floss picks. These have a small amount of floss on a stick and can be easily slipped into the proximal surfaces of each tooth.
Children may be able to floss on their own, however, many lack the proper dexterity to completely clean their teeth. Parental supervision is very important during the years that they are starting to learn how to floss on their own. At Children’s Dental FunZone we always recommend that parents help their children brush and floss, particularly in the hard to reach areas of the posterior teeth.
How to teach your kids how to floss
When teaching your kids to floss, show them how to hold the floss between their thumbs and fingers. Guide the floss up and down their teeth, keeping the line of floss pulled against the teeth. Avoid the gum line. Clean around each tooth.
How kids should floss their upper teeth
Using your thumbs, guide the floss between each upper tooth. Keep about a 1 inch line of the floss between your fingers. Use each index finger to guide the floss and bring it up against each tooth. Guide in an up and down motion.