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Do children need to floss their teeth?

Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics
Children need to floss their teeth as soon as their teeth touch. This will clean out the particles of food that get stuck. If you cannot floss after every meal, try to at least floss before bedtime.
Peggy Rosen
Dentist

Children need to floss their teeth as soon as possible. At the beginning let the child use the floss that has holder and practice flossing with your guidance. It may not be efficient at first. As the child becomes older; the technique will be improved and best of all the child will have a good habit of flossing along with brushing.

You should be flossing your child’s teeth as soon as he or she has any two teeth that touch. Cleaning between the teeth is important because it removes plaque where a toothbrush can’t reach. 

Flossing demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, and children are not usually able to floss well until they are age 10 or 11, and even then they should be supervised. Ideally, an adult will brush and floss a child’s teeth until he or she is at least 6 years old.
Carol Jahn
Dentist
Most children don't have the manual dexterity to use dental floss effectively. That leaves two options. The parent can floss for the child or find a product that the child can use more easily. A couple of good product suggestions would be small child friendly floss holders or a water flosser (oral irrigator) designed just for children. It is important to keep in mind that even some of these products may need parental help or supervision depending on the age and dexterity of the child.
Even young children should floss their teeth. When children are about 2 or 3 years old, parents should gently rub floss between their teeth. If there are spaces between the teeth, don't floss until the teeth touch. As the children age, teach them how to do it on their own.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.