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.
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.
Show your child how to slide the floss down gently between their teeth while holding it tightly so that it creates tension.
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.
Rinse and repeat. Get your child to learn how to unwind small sections of the clean floss from each finger for each new tooth.