Developing good oral hygiene habits early on is essential for a lifetime of good habits to come. Encouraging a child to floss their teeth on a regular basis greatly decreases the chances of them developing periodontal disease as an adult.
There is no hard and fast rule on when a child can start to floss their own teeth. It really is going to vary from child to child. Attitude and fine motor dexterity are usually the two primary factors that will influence success. You can actually start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they emerge. Since a child’s mouth is smaller you may need to use your pinky fingers to reach their molars.
One of the early challenges for children is spooling the floss around the fingers and maintaining a firm grip. A simple floss stick is an easy to hold, kid-friendly tool to help them get started. Just make sure they understand not to force the floss or snap it into their gums.
Brushing and flossing with your child helps set an example for them to follow later on when they have developed the fine motor skills needed for spooling floss from one finger to the other.
Try to keep things fun. Having a brushing and flossing song to sing beforehand helps define expectations. Counting each tooth they floss reinforces number skills. Giving them stickers or gold stars to put on the calendar serves as long term recognition of a job well done.
If you have questions about how or when to introduce your child to flossing please feel free to call us at 843-884-1215 or ask about it at your next appointment. We look forward to seeing you!