Family Dental Health: How to Encourage Your Child to Floss

Flossing is a vital part of any dental health routine. Brushing your teeth will not remove plaque and debris from between the teeth or below the gum line, which can lead to tooth decay. While many adults already incorporate flossing into their daily dental cleaning routine, it isn't as common among children. Getting your child into the habit of flossing on a daily basis can help to set them up for a lifetime of great dental health. Below are some top tips to help you teach your child to floss.

Use the appropriate dental flossing tape

Compared to an adult mouth, children tend to have a bigger space between each tooth. As they grow, the space between their teeth will gradually begin to narrow. You should begin by using dental flossing tape which is wide. This will make it easier for the child to hold it and will lessen the chance that they will damage their gums when flossing.

If your child has very small hands, they may find holding a strand of dental floss difficult. If this is the case, you should purchase a pack of dental floss tools. These tools consist of a small plastic handle with a piece of floss attached between two points. The tool is shaped to make it easy to hold and to allow the user to floss difficult-to-reach teeth with ease. If you are unsure of the best floss for you child, speak to your family dentist.

Start at the right age

Your child can begin to floss once they have teeth which are touching each other. There is no need to floss a single tooth, as it is very easy to use a toothbrush to clean around it.

Develop a flossing routine

You should encourage your child to floss by turning the experience into a game.  For example, you could tell them a story about Mr Tooth and how he needs to be looked after. Flossing can be carried out twice a day after brushing. To begin with, you should floss your child's teeth so they can get used to the sensation and the amount of pressure they need to apply. Once you are confident that they can floss their own teeth, you should brush and floss at the same time, so that you can encourage them and check that they are doing it properly.

If you have any questions about how to introduce your child to flossing or other areas of their dental health, you should contact your family dentist.