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A Parent's Guide to Proper Flossing

January 18, 2024

A Parent’s Guide to Proper Flossing 

Just like teeth brushing, flossing is integral to your child’s daily oral health routine. It helps lower the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath, promoting your child’s oral health. Our team at Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is happy to offer tips on proper flossing to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy smiles. 

When Should Your Child Start Flossing?

Flossing may sound pretty grown up, but dental professionals recommend starting as soon as two teeth touch, usually around ages 2-3. Even though babies and toddlers may have multiple teeth, it takes time for the teeth to shift and fit closely together.  

The earlier children start flossing, the more likely they will continue flossing into adulthood. Make sure to help with flossing until those tiny fingers can hold the floss on their own. We recommend supervising flossing until age 10 or 11 when you are confident your child can do a thorough job of cleaning between the teeth. 

How Often Should Your Child Floss? 

The American Dental Association recommends flossing between teeth once a day. That’s important because cleaning those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth prevents plaque from hardening to tartar. Flossing is one of the most effective ways to lower the risk of dental disease. 

Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal to see some bleeding when you start flossing. However, if the bleeding persists, make sure to contact Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry for an evaluation.

What Is the Best Type of Floss for Your Child?

There is no best type of floss. It all boils down to personal preference. In general, dental tape, which is wider than regular floss, is best for teeth with gaps in between. When it comes to teeth that are close together, try waxed floss to make it easier for you and your child. 

If you struggle to reach the smaller areas in your child’s mouth, using a floss pick can help. If your child needs a little encouragement, you can opt for flavored floss varieties, such as minty fresh or bubble gum. Ultimately, the “best” floss is the one that works for both you and your child’s needs.

Flossing Best Practices

Make sure your child flosses at least once a day before or after brushing. Here is a look at how to floss just right:

  • Cut an 18 to 20-inch long piece of floss and wrap its ends around your middle fingers. 
  • Hold the floss taut between your forefingers and thumbs and gently slide it between the teeth. 
  • Use an up-and-down rather than a side-to-side motion, and avoid jerking or snapping the floss into the space between teeth so you don’t hurt the gums.
  • Curve the floss to make a “C” shape against the sides of each tooth and guide it below the gum line. 
  • As you move from tooth to tooth, use a fresh piece of floss.

Preventive Dental Care Near Me

If you’d like more tips on caring for your child’s smile, visit Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Patel and our kid-friendly team are always here to answer your questions and address your concerns. We are also happy to offer comprehensive preventive services to keep dental disease at bay. We invite you to call our office at 480-284-5076 to schedule your appointment or request one online today!