Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What age should my child begin to floss?

Pediatric and family dentists alike are known to emphasize good brushing and flossing routines when patients visit the dentist. Children need time to develop a routine and the ability to clean their teeth on their own. A toothbrush is much easier to hold and manipulate than floss so parents should take the time each evening to ensure that their teeth are flossed properly.

When do I start flossing my child’s teeth?

As your child’s teeth develop, the gaps between them begin to shrink. Once neighboring teeth are in close proximity, parents can begin flossing their child’s teeth. Depending on your child’s development, this could be as early as age 2 ½.

When should a child start to floss their own teeth?

Once your child has reached school age, you will want them to start flossing their own teeth. The fine motor skills needed to floss correctly may not be developed yet, parents may need to follow up with a more thorough flossing after their child has had a chance to try on their own. It is essential to take these moments to help give pointers on how to improve.

  • Give your child a visual prompt to suggest the length of floss, perhaps a towel rack or the length across the sink.
  • Demonstrate how to gently wrap floss around their fingers to keep it from being too tight.
  • Let them watch you floss so they can mimic your movements.
  • Repeat tips often until your child has mastered the task.

When will my child be able to floss alone?

Depending on your child’s fine motor development, he/she may not be able to floss alone until after the age of ten. At that point flossing should be a routine part of your child’s bedtime regimen each day.

Making the flossing habit stick!

You want your child to floss every day, your pediatric dentist does too! Building good habits are easier for some children so it may take some extra leg work on the parents’ part for those kids who may be more forgetful.

Here are a few tips to help get the flossing routine to stick:

  • Keep the floss next to their toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Place a checklist next to the sink so they remember each step - use pictures clues for non-readers
  • Hang a calendar in the bathroom and let your child check off or place a sticker each day after they floss.
Just remember, every child is different and your plan may need adjustments for other children in the home.

If you want to learn more about your child’s teeth or have a concern about their oral hygiene routine, please contact your North Scottsdale pediatric dentist, Dr. Noel Korf for more information.

1 comment:

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