Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

The Importance of Flossing

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published June 12, 2018

Flossing is critical in creating good hygiene and keeping your child’s teeth nice and healthy. As many parents know, it is easier said than done to have your child learn the importance of regularly flossing. Flossing might seem like a frustrating task and your child might be upset the first couple of times they try it alone. As the parent, you should be there to help guide them throughout the process of properly flossing.

When Should My Child Start Flossing?

Most children will need help with flossing for the first 2-3 years of their teeth growing in. Their lack of coordination and mouth full of changing teeth will present them a challenge in initial learning. We recommend helping your child floss up until the ages between 7-10 years old. By this age, the large majority of kids will be able to floss independently.

Is It Normal For Gums To Bleed From Flossing?

Both children and adults are prone to some minor bleeding while flossing, which is alright. Gums are a sensitive part of the mouth and carry large amounts of blood. Gum bleeding can be correlated with how often your child flosses. The more your child flosses, the less their gums will bleed. To reduce gum bleeding, it also helps to use proper form when flossing—for example, it is imperative to ensure that your kids aren’t forcing the floss too hard or quickly, because this could cause slicing or ripping of the gums. Instead, make sure they’re being gentle and purposeful in their flossing.

Different Ways To Floss

Traditional Flossing

Although it’s not as easy, traditional flossing from a spool is important for your child to learn. Teach them to wrap the floss around each index finger so that it doesn’t slip out while using. The most important thing for them to know is that the floss doesn’t have to be blistering tight. A little bit of slack will allow the floss to maneuver much easier between teeth.

Floss Sticks

Floss sticks, also referred to as dental sticks, are great tools for both children and adults to use. Having a handle to hold onto makes it much easier to navigate the floss throughout your child’s mouth.

Get Them Excited About Flossing

As a parent, you are your child’s greatest role model. Leading by example will almost always motivate your child to take action. Now, as kids get older, they can sometimes become more defiant. Learning what motivates and what discourages them will go a long way in tasks such as getting them to floss.

Des Moines’ Trusted Pediatric Dentists

Drs. Barsetti and Whittemore have decades of experience in dental care here in Des Moines. With two offices between Ankeny and Des Moines, we are accessible to anybody who lives in the metro area! If you are interested in learning about all of the services we provide, contact us today!

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