Flossing: When to Start and How to Teach Your Children

August 22, 2022

Flossing: When To Start And How To Teach Your Children

As parents I think it is easier for us to just focus on making sure our children’s teeth get brushed, because we all know how that can be a battle.  Adding one more thing, like flossing, on top of that can seem like a daunting task. However, the sooner we start flossing and brushing our children’s teeth the easier it will become, as they get older. So we know that we should start caring for our child’s teeth when they are infants, so when should we start flossing their teeth? Keep reading to find out.

As your child’s teeth begin to come in, that is when you should start flossing. This will not only help them get used to the feeling of flossing but it will also help get rid of any residue that was missed while brushing. In a previous post we talked about how brushing is going to help fight cavities and tooth decay later on down the road, flossing their teeth is going to have the same benefits. Eventually your child’s teeth will come closer together, you will want to make sure that this becomes a daily habit if it isn’t already. The closer the teeth are together, the harder it is going to get the build up between the teeth with just brushing. Flossing their teeth for them will help them learn that it is just as important as brushing their teeth, and will allow them to develop this as a good habit in their lives.  Kids are usually able to maneuver the floss between their own teeth by the age of ten, if your child still hasn’t mastered it, make sure you are either supervising or doing it for them until they can do it themselves. Make sure the floss that they are using is soft and flexible so it is easier for them to put between their teeth, and is gentle on their gums.

How do you floss your child’s teeth?  Oral-B provides three easy steps on how to floss your child’s teeth. Your older children can use these steps as well as they learn to floss their own teeth, with your help of course.

  1. Take about 18 inches of floss and loosely wrap most of it around each middle finger leaving an inch of floss between.
  2. Gently slide it down between your child's teeth with your thumb and index fingers holding the floss taut. Be careful not to snap it down on their gums.
  3. Curve the floss around each tooth in a “C” shape and gently move it up and down the sides of each tooth, including under the gum line. Unroll a new section of floss as your move from tooth to tooth.                                                                                                                                

Sounds easy enough right? But getting your toddler or even your older child to sit still while doing this can be quite a challenge. With my toddler I have tried many different ways, and sometimes each time I floss her teeth it’s different. I have tried laying her down on the ground, sitting or standing with her head tilted back or laying back in a chair. I think it is best to experiment and figure out the best and easiest way to get your child’s teeth flossed. Each child will be different, and each day may be different as well. Sometimes it helps to demonstrate on your own teeth so they aren’t afraid of getting their own teeth flossed.

If you have tried flossing your child’s teeth and are struggling with the process, ask your child’s dentist for any tips they may have. Your child’s dentist will be the best resource of information for any question regarding your child’s oral health, they may even be able to show you how to floss their teeth at their appointment.


  1. When To Start Flossing
  2. Teaching Your Children How To Brush And Floss

Ready to bring your child’s best smile forward?