Are you wondering if it's time to start flossing your child's teeth? Today, our Courtenay dentists answer this question.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene for Kids
Teeth are an essential component of our overall health and with proper care, lots of people can keep their teeth their whole lives. Good oral health should start early – even before a child’s first teeth erupt. Baby teeth usually begin peeking through the gums when an infant is about six months old.
Other than letting a child eat and speak, baby teeth “hold the space” for adult teeth that erupt later on. Parents have the critical task of caring for their children’s mouths and helping them adopt good oral cleaning habits. We recommend bringing your child to the dentist before their first birthday, then after that scheduling regular visits.
Cavities are very common in North American children. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
When to Start Flossing Your Child's Teeth
You should floss even your child’s baby (or primary teeth). Once your child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, flossing is an important part of their oral health.
When Children Can Start Floss Their Teeth By Themselves
You should help your child get into the habit of flossing until they can floss their teeth on their own. Kids generally start being able to floss on their own when they are approximately 10 years of age.
Helping Your Kid Learn to Floss
To stress the importance of flossing, and help them develop a good habit of flossing, do it for them regularly until they're able to do it themselves. You want to establish the healthy habit of daily flossing early so that when their permanent teeth come in, they already have flossing worked into their daily routine.
Use floss that is soft and flexible so that it doesn't hurt their teeth and is comfortable on their gums.
Flossing is so very important in maintaining healthy gums and teeth, and it is better to start early than late.
Ways to Get Your Child Excited About Flossing
To get your child excited about the idea of flossing, set up a simple game or activity to both provide entertainment and an understanding of the importance of flossing. One suggestion would be a peanut butter flossing activity. Put on a rubber glove and allow your child to spread peanut butter between your fingers. Explain how this resembles plaque and food getting stuck in between our teeth when we don’t floss and allow plaque to build up. Then, giving your child a piece of floss, instruct him/her to try and scrape off all of the peanut butter.
This activity, or something similar, can be a great way to entice your child into trying to floss more often.