Beth E. Kailes, DMD • Nicole M. Staman, DMD • Allison J. Johnston, DMD

Beth E. Kailes, DMD
Nicole M. Staman, DMD
Allison J. Johnston, DMD

How important is flossing your child’s teeth?

Flossing is a very important part of your child’s overall oral hygiene. Brushing cleans the tops and outer surfaces of the teeth and gums, but cavities like to hide between the teeth where the brush can’t reach. Flossing is the only way to reach the food particles stuck between the teeth.

i-love-flossingAccording to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), “By age 5, nearly 60 percent of kids have had tooth decay. The rate of tooth decay is alarming not only because it is on the rise, but it becomes harder to treat once it sets in, especially if at an early age. The good news is that this top chronic infectious disease among our nation’s children is nearly completely preventable. While most parents and caregivers are aware of the importance of brushing and flossing, it’s only part of the puzzle in preventing tooth decay.”

Here are a few tips to make flossing easier:

  • Begin daily flossing once your child’s teeth touch each other, usually when they are about 2.5 years old.
  • Brush and floss your preschooler’s teeth and supervise the brushing and flossing of school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.
  • Floss before brushing. This helps loosen the food debris between the teeth, which is then brushed and rinsed away.
  • Rinse with water after flossing, then brush teeth.
  • Be gentle. Gently slide in between teeth using a gentle rubbing motion, being careful not to “snap” the floss through the teeth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth and gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
  • Use a floss holder. Floss holders may make flossing easier for little fingers that have trouble holding the floss.

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get our kids to brush and floss their teeth everyday. So, here are a few tips to help make the whole experience easier for you and your child.