The importance of oral hygiene for children
Maintaining good oral health is crucial for overall well-being, and with proper care, many individuals can preserve their teeth throughout their lifetime. It is essential to prioritize oral health from an early age, even before a child's first teeth emerge.
Typically, baby teeth start appearing around six months old. Apart from enabling eating and speaking, baby teeth also serve the important purpose of preserving space for the development of adult teeth. Parents play a vital role in caring for their children's oral health and fostering good oral hygiene habits.
It is recommended to schedule the child's first visit to a dental hygienist before they turn one, followed by regular visits thereafter.
Cavities are prevalent among children in North America. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infections that may interfere with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
When should I start flossing my child's teeth?
You should floss even your child’s baby (or primary teeth). Once your child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, flossing is an important part of their oral health.
When can children floss their teeth by themselves?
Until your child can floss their teeth on their own, you should help them floss to get them in the habit of flossing daily. Children are usually able to floss by themselves around the age of 10.
How can I help them learn to floss?
To stress the importance of flossing, and help them develop a good habit of flossing, do it for them regularly until they're able to do it themselves. You want to establish the healthy habit of daily flossing early so that when their permanent teeth come in, they already have flossing worked into their daily routine.
Use floss that is soft and flexible so that it doesn't hurt their teeth and is comfortable on their gums.
Flossing is so very important in maintaining healthy gums and teeth, and it is better to start early than late.
How to get your child to be enthusiastic about flossing
To make flossing an enjoyable experience for your child, try incorporating a fun game or activity that also helps them understand the significance of flossing. One idea is to create a peanut butter flossing activity. Begin by wearing a rubber glove and letting your child spread peanut butter between your fingers.
Explain that this represents plaque and food particles that can get stuck between our teeth when we don't floss, leading to the buildup of plaque. Then, give your child a piece of floss and guide them in attempting to remove all of the peanut butter, emphasizing how flossing helps clean and maintain healthy teeth.
This activity, or something similar, can be a great way to entice your child into trying to floss more often.