When Should I Start Flossing My Child’s Teeth?

Q: My daughter is two years old. When should I start flossing her teeth, and when can she begin to do it herself? 

A: Flossing should begin when your child is around ages 2 to 3, the direction of his or her dentist. Prior to this age, flossing is not necessary. Children usually need assistance with flossing until they are ages 8 to 10. Brushing teeth properly and consistently helps to remove most dental plaque. However, brushing alone can’t remove plaque located in places that a toothbrush can’t reach, particularly between teeth. 

Flossing should take place at least once a day for two to three minutes each time to be most effective. Consistent, regular flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque, perhaps more important, even, than brushing. Your child’s dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate the best way to floss your child’s teeth and can give tips for older children on how they can begin to do it themselves.

Source: Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital