Flossing 101


We’re in the heart of November and hopefully, your children have no Halloween candy left because Christmas is just around the corner and chocolates and sweets are surely coming back their way. The team at Arbutus North Dental wants to ensure that you and your family don’t forget the fundamentals of oral health care. One of the most troubling but basic things people can do to take care of their teeth and gums is floss. It’s especially difficult for children to keep up with a flossing routine because they may find that it hurts or that it’s too difficult to get the proper technique. When families search for a children’s dentist in Kitsilano, they look to Arbutus North Dental Centre because we instill healthy habits. We want to teach the basics of flossing so that your kids will continue to practice healthy oral health habits as they grow up.

Here are the basic steps when teaching your kids how to properly floss. Moms and dads may need a little brush up as well – pun intended. For more tips and oral health care service, visit Arbutus North Dental Centre, home to some of the most trusted children’s dentist in Kitsilano.

1. Choose your dental floss. Your child may enjoy flavoured dental floss because it distracts them. There are many different flavours available so make it fun for your child to sort through the options. Floss also comes waxed or unwaxed. If the floss has a tendency to get stuck in between your child’s teeth, choose the wax option.

2. Just take enough. Kids may find it fun to pull long lengths of floss but it’s obviously very wasteful. 60 cms is about the right amount for adult teeth. You may be using quite a bit of length to begin with as your child is still learning proper technique.

3. Get a little help. If your child is very young or has trouble coordinating the proper flossing technique, you can purchase floss holders to assist them maneuvering in between each tooth. You can find floss holders at most grocery stores and pharmacies. Just as their name implies, floss holders simply hold floss in place so that your child doesn’t have to tie the ends to his or her fingers.

4. Hold on tight. Your child should wrap the ends of the floss around his or her middle fingers but make sure there’s some extra floss in the middle. This extra floss does the work as it is moved in between teeth and along the gumline.

5. Learn the technique. Using their index fingers, your child must learn to move the floss down to the gum line between the teeth. The floss should also move down the sides of the teeth to scrape any food particles and plaque. The motion will be a C-shape as the floss moves around each tooth, down and up the sides.

6. Use clean floss. Make sure that a clean part of the floss is always used between each tooth. Molars are typically difficult to reach, so emphasize the importance of cleaning the back of the mouth.

Along with brushing and regular checkups, flossing is vital in oral health care. By learning the fundamentals at a young age — and refreshing when you’ve been on a bit of a hiatus — you and your family can prevent serious problems such as gum disease. If you have any questions about flossing or general oral health, contact your children’s dentist at Arbutus North Dental Centre. Schedule an appointment for a checkup or cleaning today.