Flossing is one of the top recommendations we give to many of our patients. Flossing helps to remove trapped food, bacteria, and plaque, leading to healthier teeth and lowering the chance of tooth decay. Let’s take a look at one of the most important things to consider when discussing flossing with your child, which is whether you should floss before or after brushing.
Should you floss before or after brushing?
We generally recommend flossing before brushing, as your brushing then removes any of the leftover debris from flossing. While we’d be happy to see your child floss in the first place — before or after brushing — this is the best way to remove the plaque that forms on the gum line. You’ll be left with cleaner and healthier teeth, and your child will be less likely to forget to floss after brushing their teeth.
For many parents, simply getting your child to floss can be another challenge to add to their daily brushing routine. For that reason, if they forget to floss first, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, dentists and medical professionals often have differing opinions about when to floss. We recommend flossing first with children, as this will ensure it’s not skipped after brushing their teeth. It can help to build strong dental routines and ensure that their teeth remain in great condition. Brushing their teeth after will remove any of the debris and plaque that flossing might have left in their mouth. Even if you floss after brushing your teeth, you’ll still see great results. One of the reasons that many dentists support this order is that you have less plaque to push through with the floss. If you find flossing to be unpleasant or messy, this might be the best option for you. Ultimately, we encourage you to find a routine that works for you and your child so they are flossing every day before heading to bed.
When should children start flossing?
If you’ve found getting your child to brush their teeth to be a challenge, you might be dreading adding flossing into the routine. Flossing helps to remove food particles from between the teeth, which could lead to gum disease or tooth decay when they are left for too long. We encourage families to establish good flossing habits from a young age. As with anything in life, the earlier your child starts to floss, the more likely they’ll be to keep this up throughout their adult life. As soon as your child’s teeth start to fit closely together in their mouth is when you should start considering flossing before or after brushing their teeth. This usually happens between the ages of two and six, but our team can advise you when it’s time to start flossing.
Teaching Children to Floss
The younger your child is when they start flossing, the more assistance they’ll need with this task. You’ll find by about the age of ten, children should feel confident to carry out this task independently. Make sure you start by purchasing soft and flexible floss. Some of the harder flosses on the market may be painful for your child when they are still learning how to perform this task for the first time. There shouldn’t be any risk of cutting their gums on the floss, as this defeats the object of this task in the first place. While you might find there is slight bleeding as the gums get used to this, it shouldn’t continue for longer than a week or so. You can guide them through the process as they are learning, which will help to establish this in their daily routine.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Taking a child to the dentist can be a tiring, embarrassing, and frustrating experience. At AC Pediatric Dentistry, we understand this, and that’s why we want to make the experience pleasant and fun for children. Call us today or request an appointment online.