Teaching Children How to Floss

May 6, 2020

Do your children floss their teeth every day? For healthy teeth and gums, they absolutely should. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing is an essential part of caring for your teeth and should be incorporated into your child’s daily dental routine.


Flossing effectively removes food between teeth and can protect your children from cavities and inflammation. There are tight, hard to reach areas in the mouth that a toothbrush can’t reach. By flossing, your children can remove this plaque buildup and protect their teeth from potential cavities.


Sometimes it can be a struggle to get young children to floss their teeth. To get them excited about a better oral hygiene routine, it helps to talk about it first. Try reading books to your children about flossing and maybe let them pick (a soft) floss themselves.


Here are other some tips that can help:


  1. Use a good amount of floss so they can hold it correctly. No need to skip – they’ll need at least 18 inches of floss. Fingertips to elbow is an easy way to measure the appropriate length.
  2. Tighten the floss by gently winding majority of its length around a finger on one of your child’s hands. Then, not too tightly, wrap the remaining length around the same finger on the opposite hand.  Show them how to use a gentle up and down motion to guide it between their teeth.
  3. Show your child how to move the floss against the tooth, curve around the base making a “C” shape to go gently below the gum-line. Don’t let them force it and be sure to release the floss if circulation is too tight around the fingers.
  4. For cleanliness, tell them to use fresh sections of floss as they go.
  5. If it’s too difficult, use a tool like floss picks or interdental brushes. These can be especially helpful for younger people who have a hard time flossing correctly.


Need to find a dentist for your child near you? Click here.