When Does My Child Need to Start Flossing and Using Mouthwash?

Oral healthcare should begin at a young age:  there are finger toothbrushes designed especially for babies, and all sorts of kid-friendly products on the market.  Often, parents will ask: when does my child need to start flossing and using mouthwash? The answer varies from child to child but here are some of the signs that you can begin a more comprehensive oral care routine:Flossing girl

When the child’s teeth begin to touch that means it is time to floss! Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out, it is important to take care of them to pave the way for healthy adult teeth to come in. If a child has cavities in his or her baby teeth it can lead to infection, or spread into the adult tooth so what when it emerges it may already be partly decayed.  Your child may also experience a great deal of pain if the cavity gets too big.

Preventing cavities doesn’t have to come from just brushing; there are plenty of kid-friendly devices on the market nowadays. Floss picks can be a great solution for those children not coordinated or patient enough for the traditional string floss method. Often U-shaped, showing your child how to floss with one of these devices can make him or her more likely to floss. Most kids will need to be taught how to floss until age eight or nine.

Mouthwash is usually not recommended for children who haven’t gotten used to spitting and rinsing, usually around age six. The child should also know that just because you use mouthwash doesn’t mean that you don’t have to brush or floss. Some mouthwashes do help kill bacteria, and help rinse out plaque, but brushing and flossing are the most important parts.

What’s the best way to get your kids to brush, floss, and use mouthwash? Do it with them! Feel free to make it fun by telling jokes, stories, or playing games while you both take care of your teeth together.