Our clinical staff often answers the question, “when should my child start flossing?” The textbook answer is, at the point when two teeth begin to touch in a child’s mouth. This is usually between the ages two and six, when parents should begin flossing or cleaning between their children’s teeth, but at Kids Smiles we offer a different suggestion. We are mostly concerned about better dental habits, such as brushing for at least a full minute each time.
Most kids really will not floss properly, so good brushing is paramount until the developmental milestone of having adult teeth fully erupted in the mouth with normal crown heights and decent contact points with normal gingival embrasure spaces. When most children are 12 or older and have 8 molars and 8 bicuspids fully erupted THEN that is the time (developmental milestone NOT age) to really learn to floss correctly and at least once a day!
- To properly floss, use about 18 inches of floss wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the opposite middle finger.
- Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers and gently insert it between the teeth.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape against the side of the tooth.
- Rub the floss gently up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth. Don’t jerk or snap the floss.
- Floss all teeth. Don’t forget to floss behind the back teeth.