Your McAllen dentists here at WhiteWing Dental are excited because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, which means a month full of celebrating beautiful smiles and gorgeous teeth. We’re ready to take your child’s oral health to the next level and we want to make sure their pearly whites stay healthy all year long.
Because this year’s theme is, “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile,” we’d like to share
a little bit of information about teaching your child the proper way to floss.
Do My Kids Really Need to Floss?
The simple answer is, yes. Even though your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, you’ll want to
keep them as healthy as possible because their baby teeth can affect the way their adult teeth grow
Flossing is one of the most important steps when it comes to your child’s oral health routine. Failing
to floss means dental plaque can build up under your child’s gums and between their teeth.
Flossing also helps to prevent problems with your child’s teeth and mouth, such as:
- Cavities: Plaque can lead to bacteria destroying the enamel of your children’s teeth and causing cavities in the process.
- Gum Disease: Excessive amounts of bacteria can end up causing tooth decay and gum
disease. If decay is left untreated, this can turn into periodontal disease, which can lead to a
host of problems, especially for adults.
When Should I Teach My Child to Floss
While your little one won’t be able to floss on their own until they’re about 10 years old, you can begin
flossing for them as soon as any of their two teeth begin to touch. This usually occurs between the
ages of two and six.
Starting them off early will teach them good oral healthcare habits that will last a lifetime. Just
remember that consistency is important, so try to floss every night to build that habit.
And don’t forget that children mimic their parents. If your children see you flossing, they are much
more likely to develop the habit as well.
Teaching Your Kids to Floss
Flossing should be done on a daily basis. When teaching your children, there are a number of simple
steps that you can take to help them master the art of flossing:
1. You’ll want to start by selecting a soft dental floss that won’t hurt your little one’s teeth or gums.
2. Next, you’ll want to remove about 18 inches of floss.
3. Lightly wrap the floss between the two index (pointer) fingers, leaving an inch or two of floss
4. The floss should be held tightly enough that it is taut but not so tight that it cuts circulation to the
5. Have your child begin to gently slide the floss between their teeth using their thumb and index
fingers to hold the floss in place. They should be careful not to snap it down on the gums as this
can cause them to bleed.
6. As the floss gets closer to the gum line, the floss should be curved into a C shape and slid gently
beneath the gums.
7. Have them unroll a new section of floss as they move from tooth to tooth.
Naturally, you’ll want to help them along the way until they are able to do it on their own.
The American Dental Association recommends that everyone floss at least once a day. Parents
should be aware that their children’s gums may bleed a little when they first start flossing. This should
only last a few days and then the gums will adjust to the flossing.
If the bleeding continues, you should talk to your child’s dentist.
Make Flossing Fun
As adults, we understand that brushing and flossing play important roles in the health of our teeth,
but our little ones don’t always understand that. Sometimes it’s just about making things fun.
If you want to add that extra little spark to flossing then consider:
- Purchasing a water flosser. Kids tend to love anything electronic and this is a great tool that can make flossing an adventure.
- There are specially designed flavored flosses made for kids. These types of products give a
little “flavor” to the process and can make the experience more enjoyable.
- Use a flossing chart with stickers to add some excitement to flossing. You can even set goals,
and once your child reaches that goal, you can provide them with a reward.
- Kids love toothbrushes with their favorite cartoon characters and superheroes. Some
toothbrushes even play music while your child brushes their teeth.
These simple little tips can really make brushing and flossing more fun for your child.
Come celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with WhiteWing Dental.
Contact the McAllen family dentists at WhiteWing Dental today to give your child a life long bright and