Flossing for Kids 101

Jul 5, 2023 | Patient Tips

Flossing may not be the first thing you do every day, but it’s something we should teach our kids about right from the start. Did you know flossing can begin as early as 6 months old? As soon as a child has two teeth that are close together, you can start helping them floss! Check out Flossing for Kids 101! 

Why should kids floss?

  • Removes food particles from between teeth
  • Prevents gum disease, also known as gingivitis
  • Promotes healthy teeth and prevents tooth decay
  • Encourages good oral hygiene habits early on
  • Saves money on costly dental procedures down the line
  • Improves overall health by reducing the risk of other health issues
  • Helps prevent bad breath by removing bacteria from the mouth

How Often Kids Should Floss

Now that you know WHY kids should floss, you might be wondering how often kids should floss. Kids may fight you on flossing at first, but if you are positive about it and make it an everyday part of their routine, it’s something they will easily get used to. 

Flossing should occur one time a day for 2-3 minutes at a time. According to Stanford Medicine, doing this can help fight plaque! 

While kids should try to floss every day, it’s important to just get them started on flossing and then you can determine HOW often they should go about doing it. If you start from an early age, then this concept will become easier over time. 

Types of Floss Available

  • Waxed Floss – This type of floss has a wax coating that makes it easier to slide between teeth and is less likely to shred or break.
  • Unwaxed Floss – This type of floss doesn’t have a wax coating and is thinner than waxed floss, making it easier to get between tight spaces.
  • Flavored Floss – Flavored floss comes in various flavors like mint, cinnamon, and even bubblegum to make the flossing experience more enjoyable.
  • Dental Tape – Dental tape is wider and flatter than traditional floss and is designed to be gentler on the gums while still effectively cleaning between teeth.
  • Super Floss – Super floss is specifically designed for people with braces or bridges. It has a stiff end that can be threaded through the teeth and a fluffy section to clean around orthodontic appliances.
  • Water Flossers – Water flossers use a stream of water to clean between teeth and along the gum line rather than traditional floss. They are an excellent option for people with sensitive gums or those who struggle with traditional floss.

Tips for Getting Your Child to Floss More Often

As mentioned before, getting your child to start flossing is one of the biggest challenges. You can get your child more excited about flossing by using these tips! 

1. Start early

Introduce flossing to your child at an early age so that it becomes a regular part of their dental routine. 

2. Make it a family activity

Flossing together as a family can make the experience more enjoyable and encourage your child to participate.

3. Lead by example

Let your child see you flossing regularly so that they understand its importance. At the end of the day, the last thing you may want to do is floss, but it does set a good example for your kids! 

4. Use kid-friendly floss

Flavored floss or floss picks can make flossing more fun for kids. Experiment with different types of floss, until you find one the kids like. 

5. Make it a game

Turn flossing into a fun game by giving your child a sticker or reward for flossing regularly. Most kids like games, so you may find pretty good results when you make flossing into a fun game, where the kids can follow along. 

6. Use positive reinforcement

Praise your child when they floss on their own, and offer words of encouragement when they struggle. You can even offer rewards if you see that they are flossing on their own without your encouragement or help. It’s a big deal when you start seeing independence with flossing. 

7. Be patient

It may take time for your child to get used to flossing, so be patient and keep encouraging them.

8. Set a schedule

Create a flossing schedule that works for your child’s routine, such as before bedtime or after meals. Everyone does better with schedules, which is why this tip makes so much sense! 

9. Offer alternatives

If your child doesn’t like traditional floss, try using a water flosser or interdental brush instead. You may find that your child enjoys flossing, especially when they have the right floss! 

10. Talk to your dentist

Your family dentist can offer additional tips and resources to help your child develop good oral hygiene habits, including flossing regularly. The dentist is a really good tool in helping your child learn to floss and stick with it. 

Teaching Your Child How to Floss

Start by choosing the right type of floss for your child’s teeth. Choose one that your child will be comfortable using.

  1. Cut off a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long. This may seem like a lot, but it will give your child enough floss to hold onto and maneuver easily.
  2. Show your child how to wrap the ends of the floss around their index fingers, leaving about two inches of floss in between.
  3. Show your child how to guide the floss gently between their teeth, using a back-and-forth motion. Encourage them to be gentle so they don’t hurt their gums.
  4. When your child reaches the gumline, show them how to curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it under the gumline. Then, do the same thing on the other tooth.
  5. Show your child how to use a fresh section of floss as they move from tooth to tooth. This will help prevent spreading bacteria from one tooth to another.
  6. Encourage your child to floss all of their teeth, including their molars at the back of their mouth.
  7. Remind your child to rinse their mouth with water after flossing to remove any loose food particles.

Ready to help your child with flossing? Go ahead and set up your child’s dental cleaning visit at your preferred location. Check out the Topping Dental locations to see how we can serve you and all of your dental needs.