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Do I Need to Floss My Toddler's Teeth?

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You’ll always remember the day your baby’s first tooth emerges. Soon, your tot will have two teeth and then more. You might wonder if you should start flossing your toddler’s teeth. The answer is a resounding yes. It is never too early to start a foundation of good oral health. You’ll need to brush and floss your toddler's teeth to help prevent cavities and gum diseases. The process also sets the framework for good, lifelong oral health.

Pediatric dentists Dr. Jeni Kong and Dr. Sandra Oh can help meet your toddler’s dental and oral health needs at Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA. Our dental team will show you how to floss your toddler’s teeth and discuss tips on maintaining good dental and oral health.

Flossing your toddler's teeth

Start flossing your toddler's teeth when they have two side-by-side teeth. This generally occurs between the ages of two and three years old. If you have any questions or concerns about flossing your toddler’s teeth, reach out to Dr. Oh or Dr. Jeni at Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA. Flossing is a big job, and it’s not uncommon for a child to need adult assistance with the process until they are 8 to 10 years old.

Brushing your toddler’s teeth twice a day does help remove dental plaque, but it’s not enough to reach the areas between the teeth. Flossing can reach the tight spots where the brush bristles simply cannot.

Benefits of flossing your toddler’s teeth include:

  • Removes debris in hard-to-reach places between the teeth and under the gums
  • Controls bad breath that can arise from stuck or trapped food particles and plaque/tartar buildup between the teeth
  • You should floss your toddler’s teeth for two to three minutes per day at least once a day

Using dental floss on a toddler

Daily flossing helps prevent plaque buildup on your toddler’s teeth, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. You’ll want to invest in dental floss to carry out the flossing process.

There is a wide assortment of dental floss types available that you can use to floss your child’s teeth, such as:

  • Flavored and unflavored (toddlers often prefer the flavored)
  • Waxed and unwaxed
  • Textured
  • Smooth
  • Wide (ideal if your toddler has a gap-toothed smile)

How to floss your toddler’s teeth

The spool method involves wrapping a length of floss that measures 18 – 20 inches around your middle fingers. Position the floss between your child’s teeth. Move the floss gently up and down. Do not use a side-to-side motion. Always make sure you go below the gumline when flossing. Form the letter c with the floss around the side of each one of your toddler’s teeth.

The loop method, which is sometimes referred to as the circle method, is another way you can floss your toddler’s teeth. You’ll cut a piece of floss that measures about 18 inches long. Tie the floss in a circle and place all your fingers except your thumb into the loop. Use your index fingers to gently guide the floss through the teeth on the bottom and your thumbs to guide the floss through the teeth on the top of the mouth. You’ll need to go below the gumline with the floss, and it should form a c around each tooth.

When your child is a toddler, you should always floss and co-brush your child’s teeth until they develop the dexterity to carry out the process themselves.

Schedule a toddler dental and oral health appointment in Lawrenceville, GA today

We invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeni Kong and Sandra Dr. Oh at Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA to discuss your toddler's dental and oral health. Dr. Jeni and Dr. Oh will set up a dental cleaning schedule for your child and discuss flossing methods. Our doctors and dental team will go over at-home flossing and dental care to maintain your toddler’s oral health and help prevent cavities from forming.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.