Little girl and her father flossing teeth on color background, space for text

Your Guide to Choosing the Right Dental Floss for Your Children

What if a single purchase could give your children better oral health?

Dental floss can help you give your children a brighter smile and cleaner oral health. However, there are many different floss options out there. That can make it hard to pick which floss is right for your kids.

Interested in providing better oral health for your children? Keep reading to discover how to pick the right kids’ dental floss!

When Should Kids Start Flossing?

Children need to begin flossing as soon as they have teeth that are touching together. Once that happens, it is possible for plaque to begin developing there, and brushing alone may not dislodge that plaque.

The entire point of regular flossing is to help people take care of the plaque that brushing cannot get rid of. If that plaque should build up, it can develop into cavities and other oral health problems.

Those problems can develop as soon as children’s teeth are touching. But if you teach and encourage brushing from a young age, you can install a lifetime of good dental values.

Types of Dental Floss

Both children and adults have more flossing options than ever before. In order to make the best choice for your own kids, you need to understand the types of dental floss that are out there.

The first type of dental floss is simply standard floss. This is the same floss your dentist uses, and kids must wrap it around their fingers and methodically floss between teeth using both hands.

The second type of dental floss is the floss pick. Instead of wrapping floss around their fingers, children can use the floss pick to floss with a single hand.

The final type of floss is actually a floss alternative: the water pick. Many use a water pick daily as an alternative to traditional flossing, and it serves the same function that regular flossing does.

Now that you know about the different types of floss, let’s take a closer look at whether these are good choices for your kids or not.

Should Kids Use Regular Dental Floss?

Regular dental floss is the gold standard of flossing. Encouraging children to use this floss from a young age helps provide them with better oral health as adults.

With that being said, some children struggle with flossing in their early years. This is because it requires both hands and some manual dexterity.

Because of that, you may want to start children off with a flossing alternative. But we recommend that you help floss your children’s teeth with traditional floss from an early age to help normalize their use of it.

The Benefits (and Drawbacks) of Floss Picks

Children and adults alike are fond of floss picks. It’s not hard to see why: floss picks are much easier to use, especially for children.

When your child first begins flossing, you will likely need to handle much of this for them. Many parents prefer these floss picks because they can be used with one hand. The other hand can be used to hold your child’s hand, open their mouth, or just offer comfort and support.

However, floss picks never get rid of as much plaque as dental floss does. If you give your children floss picks at a younger age, we recommend you switch them to standard dental floss by the time they are eight years old.

Should Kids Use a Water Pick?

Children should not use a water pick until they are much older. The only exception to this is if your children have braces that make dental floss or floss picks impossible to operate.

In the right hands, water picks are very effective because they blast a stream of high-pressure water through the teeth. This makes for a quick and efficient way of taking care of plaque.

However, children shouldn’t use water picks because at higher settings, they can easily injure their gums. And even if children don’t hurt their gums, they may end up making a huge mess with a water pick.

As we noted before, the only real exception is if a child happens to have braces. A water pick can be helpful for such children – but should only be used under adult supervision.

Model Flossing for Children

Flossing is only really effective when children use the right flossing techniques. That is why it is very important for parents to model flossing to their children.

Think of flossing like any other skill. Just as you had to (or will have to) teach your child to tie shoe laces, you must teach them how to floss if you want them to learn how to do it.

One of the easiest ways to model flossing is to let your children see how you floss. In addition to teaching them necessary flossing techniques, this helps them see flossing as a normal family activity.

Getting Kids Excited About Flossing

Children, much like adults, can learn how to floss pretty quickly. The hard part is getting them to do it regularly. And if they don’t floss on a regular basis, your children will lose most of the benefits that flossing has to offer.

The solution, then, is to get your children excited about flossing. One way to do this is to let them pick out their own floss or floss picks. This gives kids a sense of agency and makes them more excited to floss, just as letting them pick their own toothbrush encourages brushing.

You can also make kids excited about flossing by flossing alongside them each night. This helps transform regular flossing into a nightly family ritual.

Finally, you can offer small, tangible rewards to children for flossing. As with potty training, rewards for following instructions give kids a powerful incentive to master how to do something!

Find the Dentist Your Child Deserves

Now you know how to pick the right dental floss for your kids and get them flossing. But do you know who can take care of their other oral health needs?

Here at Webster Family Dental, we make your children’s oral health our top priority. To see how we can provide the care your children deserve, just contact us today!

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