Flossing Guide: When Should My Child Begin?

Young girl flossing her teethFlossing is a much touted, important part of any person’s daily oral hygiene routine.  The act of moving the floss in and around the teeth and gums helps to loosen particles and debris that get stuck between the teeth, allowing those teeth to be cleaned more successfully.  This helps keep the teeth healthier by allowing you to avoid several of the most common oral diseases.

While many parents know that it is important for their children to floss, the question that most often is asked is when should they start?  At what age is it appropriate for children to start flossing their teeth?

The answer to that question is not the same for everyone.  In truth, it is important for children to start flossing their teeth as soon as their baby teeth start to fit closely together.  This can happen at many different ages, though usually it is between the ages of 2 and 6. If you are not sure if your children’s teeth are “ready” for flossing, talk to your dentist and get his opinion.  In most cases, it is better to err on the early side instead of the late side.  Even if the teeth are not close enough to reap all the benefits of flossing, your children will still be learning the important habit of flossing on a daily basis.

The next question that arises is how in the world is a 2 (or 3 or 4) year old supposed to have the dexterity in their hands to floss their teeth?  In truth, the answer to that is, most likely they will not.  For this reason, until the children can prove that they can adequately handle the floss on their own, it’s important for the parents to help floss their teeth. Even after the children takes over and flosses on their own, it is a good idea for the parents to supervise the flossing in order to make sure that it is done correctly and thoroughly.

By helping your children begin flossing at an early age, you will set them on a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits and strong, healthy teeth.