Encouraging good oral hygiene habits when your child is young greatly increases the chances they will maintain good oral health, throughout the course of their lives.
The American Dental Association suggests that you start brushing and flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they emerge from their gums. You don’t need to use a child-safe toothpaste, until they are old enough to know how to spit excess toothpaste out. This generally happens around 12 to 18 months old.
You should your child’s teeth as soon as two emerge together. This is usually the bottom two front teeth. You may need to use your pinky fingers to reach their molars and other hard to reach parts of their mouth, as the teeth emerge. The age where they can floss their own teeth varies from child to child. Attitude and fine motor dexterity are usually the two primary factors that lead to success.
Keeping a firm grip on the floss and actively spooling it around their fingers can be a challenge for young children. A floss stick, with waxed floss is easy to hold and slides easily between teeth, reducing the chances they will force the floss or snap it into their gums.
Try to keep things fun and upbeat. Having a brushing and flossing song to sing beforehand helps define expectations. Brushing and flossing your own teeth right beside them also sets a good example for them to follow throughout the years to come.
If you have questions about how or when to introduce your child to flossing, please feel free to call us at 801-756-2006 or ask about it at your next appointment. We look forward to seeing you!