Did you know that you should be flossing your children’s teeth on a daily basis, even from the age of two years? According to dental professionals, you should start cleaning in-between as soon as the teeth touch one another, usually between two and six years of age.
Importance of cleaning in-between
The follow tips may help your child understand the importance of cleaning in-between:
- Explain that brushing can only clean the front, back and top of the tooth. Flossing is to clean the sides.
- Floss your own teeth regularly – children tend to copy what you do more than what you say.
- Floss for them. Until your children are able to floss effectively on their own, usually around 12 years old, give them a hand to help keep their mouth in tip top condition.
Says Stella Lamprecht, President of the Oral Hygienists’ Association of South Africa, “We can honestly say you only have to floss those teeth that you would like to keep. There are a lot of conflicting messages out there, but as oral hygienists we recommend that you clean between the teeth or floss every day. If you don’t, it’s like letting your child walk barefoot in the mud and not cleaning between the toes afterwards. The mud will stick.”
How to floss your child’s teeth
The technique to floss your child’s teeth is very similar to flossing your own:
- Take about 30cm of floss
- Wind the floss around your middle fingers
- Hold it floss between thumbs and index fingers
- Slide the floss in-between your child’s teeth using a gentle back-and-forth sawing action
- Fold floss around the side of the tooth in a C-shape and slide it floss up and down, against tooth and just under the gum line. Repeat on the neighbouring tooth.
- Pull out and repeat in-between the next teeth.
Learn how to floss correctly in less than a minute with short, simple videos on www.ivohealth.co.za/FlossLikeABoss. You’ll also find a video on flossing orthodontic braces, just one of the many challenges you may face as a parent of a tween or teenager!
I find it easiest to floss my children’s teeth if I ask the children to lie down on the bed, with their head on the pillow. They find it easier to open their mouths wider, and they tend to move around less.
Flossing tools to suit your child
Oral hygienist Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor, suggests making cleaning in-between an everyday habit, using traditional floss once a child is old enough, or a special flossing tool. “Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks are modern tooth-picks with tiny rubber bristles that are easy to use and gentle on the gums; my toddlers prefer them to floss. Floss on a handle, like disposable GUM Easy Flossers or a GUM Automatic Flosbrush are also great, particularly when you are still cleaning your child’s teeth for them. Or try a power option, such as the Panasonic Oral Irrigator or Sonicare AirFloss which jets a microburst of air and water between the teeth, cleaning the entire mouth in just 30 seconds. The main thing is to find a tool that suits you and your child.”
This is not a sponsored post. Product and information supplied by IVOhealth.