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What Age Should Kids Start Flossing?

A father and daughter sit at a dentist’s desk looking at xrays.

When to Floss? The Best Age for Kids to Start

Many parents wonder at what age should a child start flossing and brushing their teeth. It’s important to remember that cleaning your infant’s teeth should begin as soon as they break through the gums. By starting this habit early in their life, they’ll get used to this routine every morning and evening. For infants, a soft washcloth can serve as a toothbrush when the first teeth appear. Your pediatric dentist will let you know when it’s time to switch to a child’s size toothbrush.

Are They Ready to Floss? Your Kd’s Age Matters

The easiest way to answer the question, “What age should a child start flossing?” is with a general rule. Flossing should start once your child has teeth that are touching one another. The teeth typically reach this stage by age two or three. Your pediatric dentist can advise you when the time is right to start flossing based on your child’s dental development and unique needs. Be sure to keep in mind that all children, regardless of how old they are when they start flossing, will need help and monitoring on their flossing technique until they are between the ages of eight and ten years old.

It’s time to floss! Kids of all ages can start!

Brushing and flossing correctly and regularly will remove the greatest amount of plaque and bacteria from the mouth. Flossing is necessary because it cleans places where a toothbrush can’t access, such as between each tooth and under the gumline.

A child with an open mouth at the dentist.

Benefits of Regular Flossing

  • Removing food particles, bacteria, and plaque
  • Helping to keep teeth looking clean and polished
  • Reducing bad breath caused by bacteria

Fearful of Floss? Your Kid’s Age Makes a Difference!

When you start flossing your child’s teeth, you may notice a little bit of bleeding along the gum line. There is no need to worry, bleeding a little bit when first starting the flossing habit is normal. If bleeding doesn’t stop after a few weeks of flossing, contact your pediatric dentist to check for gingivitis.

That said, flossing tools pre-loaded with dental floss can help children learn how to floss or who have limited motor coordination or special needs.

Please note that oral irrigators should not be used instead of brushing or flossing. For children treating with an orthodontist, irrigators can help clear food away from braces. However, they do not adequately remove plaque.

A dental model of teeth with a loop of floss.

Have Fun Flossing – Kids of All Ages Should Try It

The best way to teach your child to floss is to model good dental care behavior! Allow your child to watch you brush and floss every morning and evening. At what age should a child start flossing is mainly dependent on the individual child. In terms of motor development and coordination, most children will not have adequate control to thoroughly brush their teeth until they’re six or seven years old. Developing the skills to master flossing will take a bit longer. Children should be able to master the task by the time they reach ten years old.

Contact us at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental to set up your appointment. Our patient reviews will assure you that you’ve found the right dental practice!