Flossing for Kids and Teenagers

Flossing for dental health

At this point, you probably already know that flossing should be an essential part of your oral care routine. Not only does it leave your teeth feeling ultra-clean, but flossing also removes most of the microscopic bacteria that gets caught in the gaps between your teeth. It is these nasty, lurking bacteria that cause the plaque that eventually lead to tooth decay, gum disease and a range of other serious health problems. The hardest part about flossing is getting in the habit of doing it - and, even more difficult, is getting your children in the habit of flossing.

Flossing at an Early Age

Getting children to brush their teeth well can be a challenge in itself. However, it may surprise you to know that ideally, children should be taught how to floss from an early age too. How early? Well, as children’s teeth come through they can often be spaced quite far apart. However, the more teeth they get, the closer together they are pushed. Therefore, as soon as you start to notice your child’s teeth fitting closely together, you should start flossing them daily.

Teaching Your Child to Floss

Once your child reaches around nine or ten years of age, they should be brushing their own teeth at least twice a day. It is at this age that children usually also have the coordination to be able to floss their own teeth.

Choose a gentle, soft and flexible floss so that it doesn’t cause any damage to their gums. Children are more likely to be too aggressive with flossing, due to the difficult nature of the task. It is quite common for a child’s gums to bleed the first few times that you or they floss them. However, if they continue to bleed every time they floss, you should make an appointment with your dental care provider. You can teach your child how to floss in as little as 4 steps.

Step One

Take around 45cms of floss and tie a small loop at each end. These loops can be hooked around your child’s fingers. Then show them how to wrap the floss around their fingers so that there is a space of around 5cms/2 inches of floss in the middle.

Step Two

Show your child how to slide the floss down gently between their teeth while holding it tightly so that it creates tension.

Step Three

You will need to show your child how to bend the floss so that it imitates a “C” shape around the tooth. This is so that the floss follows the contours of the tooth properly and gets into every gap.

Step Four

Rinse and repeat. Get your child to learn how to unwind small sections of the clean floss from each finger for each new tooth.

Water Flossers

If flossing your child’s teeth is still proving to be a tricky task, then you may want to consider a water flosser. They work by emitting a jet of pressurized water, which forces debris out from between your teeth. Most are small, portable devices with a waterk tank and floss pick. Although watter flossers are electric, they are still relatively quiet and discreet.

Water flossers are proven to be effective and are a popular choice among adults and children who find traditional flossing difficult to perform. It is also recommended to teenagers and adults who have orthodontic braces fitted.

Flossing with Braces

Using dental floss with braces may seem like mission impossible, but with a little practice and care, you will be a pro in no time.

Step One

Make sure you choose waxed floss, which is far less likely to get shredded on your braces. Pull out around 45/50cms of floss and wrap the ends firmly around your fingers, leaving a gap of around 5cms/2 inches to work with.

Step Two

Carefully thread the floss under the main wire of your braces before wrapping it in a c-shape around the tooth and flossing as normal.

Step Three

Remove the floss and re-thread it under the main wire again for every next pair of teeth.

Still Finding Flossing Hard?

Orthodontic braces are designed to give you or your child the smile you deserve. Flossing well will also help to maintain that great smile and your oral health for years to come.

If you still can’t get to grips with flossing with braces, then consider alternatives such as a water flosser (see above) or dental picks.

Don’t Forget Your Dentist

It is essential that you attend all of your regularly scheduled dental wellbeing appointments as well as your orthodontic ones. Your dentist will be able to spot any potential problems early and arrange for professional interproximal cleaning to reduce your risk of developing gingivitis or periodontal disease.