Apr 10, 2014 - 09:04 AM EST | Posted under: Dental Tips, General
There are several essential habits to proper dental care. Brushing, flossing, and routine visits to the dentist are chief among them. However, these habits don’t become habits without the assistance of a caring parent and family dentist. You may want to consult a pediatric dentistry professional in the early stages of teaching oral care to ensure you give your child all the tools necessary to properly care for their teeth at a young age. Unlike brushing, flossing requires a bit more skill and adherence to proper dental care techniques. Use these tips to teach your child about flossing.
When can a child begin flossing?
You can begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as he or she has two teeth that emerge side by side. The main focus of this practice is to instill the habit as part of your child’s dental care routine. You must emphasize the importance of this habit as part of their daily routine. You can help prevent poor flossing habits with dedication to the habit in the early years.
In the beginning, you may want to use a floss pick or stick to make the process of flossing easier. As your child grows, he or she will need less supervision and assistance with the task. Usually by age 10, most children can use string floss and complete the task on their own.
When your child is about 7 or 8 years old, you can begin to introduce him or her to string floss and teach proper flossing techniques. Follow these basic flossing steps to teach your child:
- Using approximately 18 inches of floss and wrap a several inches of each side loosely around each middle finger leaving an inch of floss between.
- Slide the floss gently between your teeth with your thumb and index fingers holding the floss taut. Take care not to snap it down on your gums.
- Curve the floss in “C” shape around each tooth and carefully move it up and down along the sides of each tooth—do not forget to reach under the gum line. Unwind a fresh section of floss as you move between each tooth.
Bleeding gums are not uncommon when your child first begins flossing. However, if bleeding persists, see your pediatric dentistry expert.