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3 Ways to Teach You Kids to Floss

Regular toothbrushing is essential to oral health, but flossing is equally important. Often thought of as an adult activity, flossing is critical for kids, too. Teach your children at a young age how to properly floss, and you’ll be preparing them for a lifelong healthy habit.

Starting Early

Young children need your help to floss correctly, but don’t wait until they are capable of doing this chore on their own. Flossing cleans out particles from between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, so flossing should become a regular practice as soon as your child’s teeth begin to touch one another. For most kids, this happens between ages two and six.

At first, you will have to floss your youngsters’ teeth for them. Growing kids often want to do everything on their own, but don’t just surrender this job to them right away. This independent phase is a great time to start teaching children the proper process, however, so they’ll eventually be ready to do it on their own. By age 10, as fine motor skills become more refined, they should be able to tackle this task independently.

Teaching The How’s

Flossing isn’t particularly tricky, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a right way to do it. With your help and plenty of regular practice, your children will soon have the technique down pat.

The first thing to do is to pull about 18 inches of floss off of the spool. One end of it should be wrapped around the middle finger of the right hand; wind the other end around the middle finger of the left hand. Use your thumb and index finger to hold the material in place while you floss.

Slide the floss between two of your children’s teeth. Gently shimmy it back and forth. Next, curve the floss into a C-shape and move it up and down. Get under the gums with the floss.

Repeat these activities between all of your child’s teeth. Use a clean section of floss each time.

Final Notes

Flossing should be done once a day, preferably before bed.

Sometimes flossing causes gums to bleed, especially when it’s a new practice. As it becomes a regular habit, the bleeding should stop. If not, try sliding the floss gently without jerking it between the teeth. Consult your child’s dentist if the bleeding doesn’t ease up.

In fact, your child’s dentist is an expert on helping kids learn to floss. Oral health is your dentist office’s priority, so don’t hesitate to contact them with questions or concerns. With the dentist’s help, you and your children will soon be flossing pros.