Give Your Child The Gift Of Good Flossing Habits

Giving your kids the gift of good flossing habits will provide benefits that continue their whole lives.

Flossing is essential to protect your child’s teeth from the hidden dangers lurking behind candy, soft drinks, and bread. Even healthy fruit can contribute to sugar acids eating away undetected until the next dentist visit — and then it’s too late to avoid cavities!

Plaque (that sticky yellow stuff on teeth that also causes teasing if other kids notice it), easily burrows down into the gums, destroying the root and even damaging bone. Giving your kids the gift of the good flossing habits — even just once a day — will do wonders to prevent cavities and keep beautiful their small smiles beautiful! And, later in life, to keep pink gums pink and surgery free.

When to Start?

Even though kids only need help with brushing until about age 3 or 4, for flossing they will continue to need your help until age 8 or 9 (for effective results). Until then you need to perform flossing every night before bedtime, right after a good two minutes brushing.

A Good Start!

You may not realize it but at this age, your child is recording everything. Every experience, site, the sound is creating the future person they will easily become. By you, the parents, setting aside this time and practice every night without fail, your baby will absorb and retain at a deep level the importance of the flossing habit.

When it is time to set the child loose to be responsible for his or her own dental hygiene, it will be MUCH easier for them to remember to do all their lives. And, of course, will benefit the whole family (and finances)l by resulting in fewer cavities and gum issues showing up during dentist visits.

Toddler to early school age

As soon as two teeth that are side by side appear – you can begin gently flossing with your baby.

1. Sit comfortably with your toddler on your lap facing you. ( I liked to play “wheeee and laugh with them a few times since they were o my lap. It makes floss time happy fun with parent time and easier all around).

2. Take about 18 inches of dental floss and wrap one end around each of your middle fingers. Using your thumbs and index fingers as guides, slide the floss between two teeth, GENTLY using a saw-like motion. (Not too fast! Slow and easy is the way right now!)

3. When the floss reaches the gum line, pull both ends of the floss in the same direction to form a C shape around one tooth.

4. Pull the floss tightly and move it up and down, up and down against one tooth.

5. Pull the floss against the other tooth and repeat the motion. If the baby is restive sometimes a little sawing song is good as a distraction.

6. Repeat this for all of the teeth. Be sure to floss both sides of the teeth farthest back in the mouth.


“Doing this routine every night before bed will provide the foundation of a habit pattern that will impact any child’s health and self-confidence for life.”

Who knew it was really such a gift to help your toddler develop good oral hygiene habits?

Because, if you are gentle and a little fun and loving (it only adds about 5 minutes to add in somewhere’s and a bit of song and laughter), the benefits will go beyond just the next visit to your children’s dentist. The confidence and self-esteem of your kids will increase with those smiles because for a time everyday mommy or daddy spent lovingly caring for them.

Soon we will talk about early school age flossing. Until then, enjoy creating healthy smiles with your kids.

Good Dental Care Begins at Home

Most of us care about how our teeth look when we smile, so that’s the first incentive we have to take good care of our teeth. It’s also widely accepted that good oral hygiene and good general health go together. Proper oral hygiene includes a simple daily routine of tooth brushing, flossing, and even tongue cleaning. This should always be supplemented by regular checkups with a dentist. Additionally, eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding certain habits contributes to a healthy mouth and teeth, as well as our general health.

Dental authorities recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day. This should be done after eating, to clean away any acids, coatings or particles left behind by foods. Use a fluoride toothpaste with a soft-bristled toothbrush. A proper job of tooth brushing should take about 2 minutes and reach all exposed surfaces. Take care not to scrub too vigorously, because you can irritate your gums and wear down the tooth enamel. Replace the brush about every three months, because a toothbrush with worn or bent bristles can’t clean properly and might even injure your gums.

The proper technique is to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle against the gumline and move the brush in small circles over the teeth. Start in one quadrant of the mouth, such as the upper left side, and move forward across the front of the teeth and around to the opposite side. Clean the inner surfaces the same way. On the insides of the front teeth, it’s easier to hold the brush vertically and use the tip to make the circles against the inner surfaces. Finish by brushing flat across the biting surfaces in short back and forth strokes. Next, brush your tongue from back to front on both the upper and lower surfaces. A surprising amount of bacteria exists on the tongue, and this will remove most of it.

After brushing, floss the teeth to remove food particles and plaque that the brush cannot reach. Begin by cutting off a piece of floss about 18 inches long, and wrap the ends around the middle fingers on each hand, leaving about an inch or so in the middle. With the thumb and forefingers, gently press the floss into the space between two teeth, and gently pull it up from the gumline to the point of the tooth to remove plaque and debris. Wrap the floss around the side of the tooth and repeat. Pull the floss up and out, unwind a little new floss, and move to the next space. If the floss gets caught in a tight space, do not force it out! Simply let go of one end and pull it out horizontally. Waxed floss might be easier for some people to use, and others might like to try a floss holder.

After brushing and flossing, a good extra step is to rinse the mouth with an antimicrobial or antiseptic mouthwash. Some formulas even contain ingredients to help preserve the tooth enamel.

The entire routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing should take only 3-5 minutes, and it will reward you with a nice smile, and good dental and general health for many years.

Don’t overlook the importance of having an annual or semi-annual checkup with a good dentist. A thorough dental exam can uncover health problems you may be unaware of because signs often occur in the mouth before they appear elsewhere. For example, some eating disorders, cancers and other diseases can be detected early in the mouth, and then successfully treated. Naturally, the dentist will also catch and treat any cavities or gum disease before they get out of hand, and can spot any problems developing in tooth or jaw alignment.

These routine and simple dental care steps, if followed regularly, will pay us huge dividends towards maintaining good dental and general health. That’s really something to smile about!