Overview Of Flossing A Child’s Teeth
Good oral health starts at a very young age. Taking care of your child’s gums and teeth every day, including flossing, helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It also helps make it a regular habit for your child.
Learn how to care for your children’s teeth and gums starting when they are newborn. When children get old enough, teach them how to brush and floss their teeth on their own.
Tooth And Gum Care For Young Children
You should start caring for your child’s mouth when they are just a few days old.
- Gently wipe your baby’s gums using a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad.
- Clean your baby’s mouth after every feeding and before bed.
Your baby’s teeth will start to come in between ages 6 to 14 months. Children’s teeth can decay, so you should start bushing and flossing them as soon as they appear.
- Gently brush your child’s teeth with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and water.
- DO NOT use fluoride toothpaste until your child is over 2 years old. Your child needs to be able to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it.
- For children under age 3, use just a small amount of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. For older children, use a pea-sized amount.
- Brush your child’s teeth after breakfast and before bed.
- Brush in tiny circles on the gums and on the teeth. Brush for 2 minutes. Focus on the back molars, which are most at risk for cavities.
- Use floss to clean between the child’s teeth once a day. Start flossing as soon as there are 2 teeth that touch. Floss sticks may be easier to use.
- Change to a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
Teaching Children To Brush
Teach your children to brush their teeth.
- Start by being a role model and show your children how you floss and brush your teeth every day.
- Children under age 6 may be able to handle a toothbrush on their own. If they want to, it is fine to let them practice. Just be sure you follow up and brush any spots they missed.
- Show children to brush the top, bottom, and sides of teeth. Use short, back-and-forth strokes.
- Teach children to brush their tongue to keep breath fresh and remove germs.
- Most children can brush their teeth on their own by the age of 7 or 8 years.