When should your child start flossing?

The other day I was on the phone with a friend, when she said “when did you start having your kids floss their teeth?”

“Er…um…well…I…” Floss? Kids? Really??

To be honest, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind! (Heck, I have a hard enough time remembering to floss my own teeth, let alone my toddlers’). To avoid the awkward non-answer I gave my friend, here are guidelines for you so you know when your child is ready for their teeth to be flossed:

  • When they have their baby teeth.
  • Once their teeth start fitting closely together and have contact with another, usually between ages 2-6.
  • Kids should be able to floss on their own by the time they head off to school, and should be able to do it well around age 10.

How to floss your child’s teeth:

  • If you are teaching them to do it, tie small circles on the ends of the floss so their fingers can fit inside.
  • Gently move the floss in a “c” motion up and down the sides of each tooth.
  • Use a new section of floss for each tooth.
  • It might be more comfortable for your child if they allow slack instead of holding the floss too tightly around their fingers.
  • Floss sticks or picks might be easier for your child to use on their own.
  • If your child’s gums start to bleed, no fear! This is common and should stop as their gums get healthier.
  • You want your child to floss daily at bedtime, or a minimum of 2x per week.

Now you know the next time your friend calls you and asks when she should be flossing her kids’ teeth, you can answer with confidence, “Well, as soon as their baby teeth start touching, of course, typically between the ages of 2 and 6…”

You’re welcome.


Thanks to BabyCenter and OralB for the info!


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