What age to floss?
Most dentists agree that teeth should be flossed as soon as any two of them touch and brushing with a toothbrush will not clean between them! This translatets to beginning flossing anytime from about 8 months on! Flossing correctly (see future Blog!) takes some talent however, and most little kids cannot floss well until about age eight. However, it is a good idea to have them start trying to floss sooner so that it becomes part of a routine for good oral hygiene.
Parents should floss their kids teeth until they can do it adequately themselves. To floss a young child’s teeth, it may be easiest for a parent to have their child lay on the floor. This makes it easier to see into your child’s mouth and is usually more comfortable for the child! Kids are not as prone to periodontal disease and gingivitis as adults. Because of this, flossing can be a pretty quick affair just to clean between the teeth. No real need to manuver the floss below the gums unless there are signs of gingivitis – bleeding, swollen or puffy tissue, or redness.
Our office – well my (Dr. Gillis‘) motto is this: Flossing is Fun! Really! Well, it really isn’t fun, but flossing is so beneficial to the health of the gum tissues which is good for your whole body, and the enjoyment of health IS fun.
It is our experience that most people could use some additional motivation to floss more and to floss correctly. So in answer to the above question, how soon should kids start flossing, is this: introduce flossing early, help out until your child has adequate dexterity to floss on his or her own, and promote the benefits of a healthy mouth for a lifetime!
Please ask us the next time you are in our office for any flossing tips that we can share. Or show us what you are doing and we can possibly improve your technique. Our office would love to help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible!