Dentist (Pediatric) Questions Flossing

Is it important for children to floss their teeth daily?

My daughter is 8 years old and very stubborn. She gives me a hard time when I tell her she has to brush her teeth, let alone floss them. Is it necessary for children to floss their teeth daily?

12 Answers

Yes, it’s important for children to floss their teeth every day. Otherwise, they will get cavities in their baby teeth and an eight-year-old has four permanent molars that will also start to get a cavity. In addition to flossing and brushing, they should rinse with a fluoride mouthwash and they should have sealants place on their permit permanent six-year-old molars. They also need to reduce candy and sugar drinks.

Thank you,

Dr. PRICE
Yes flossing is very important especially if your child's teeth are very close together. It is important to establish consistent oral hygiene habits at an early age.
I recommend a flossing nightly. If that is impossible at LEAST 2-3 times a week. Most cavities I find in children are actually in between the teeth, so flossing is extremely important.
Children should brush their teeth twice a day. Flossing is also important, but depends on the child's dexterity. It would be okay for a parent to assist the child until they are capable of flossing on their own.
Flossing is very necessary, cavities occur frequently between the teeth and flossing is the only way to keep those areas clean. You can try to use plastic flossers to get in between the teeth.
Being a child and a parent in the 21st century has its comforts and its difficulties. Unfortunately, these are one of the difficulties. Your nurturing, consistent, unwavering message should remain the same daily; flossing and brushing of the teeth is a daily hygiene practice. Although your daughter may be very mature in some aspects of her personality, this point may not be one of them. May I suggest an "independence" compromise? She still may need you to be the hands-on parent in helping with flossing and brushing nightly (the most important one of the day). Your daughter can be responsible for the morning brushing before school (this one is the less critical one of the day).
It is very important to assist your child or at least supervise daily flossing. It seems since your child is not always a willing brusher that flossing may be an additional challenge and this is certainly not uncommon. At age 8, many children do have the dexterity to floss and using the disposable flossers like you can buy in bulk is easiest for them. Some of these flossers come with animal shapes and are colorful and may be more appealing to children. I find that the front teeth often are spaced slightly and the toothbrush can reach between the teeth, However, the back teeth are usually tighter and this is where more cavities occur and where we must concentrate on flossing for children. The first primary molar is usually lost around age 9 to 10 years old and the second primary molar is not lost until 10 1/2 to 11 years of age and sometimes a little later. Especially the second primary molars are very important in holding space for the eruption of the first and second bicuspids that are the permanent teeth that replace these primary molars. The second primary molar serves to hold the first permanent molars back. If the primary molar is lost early (which can happen if decay occurs), the permanent molar can drift forward quickly and cause a space shortage for the bicuspid to erupt. The likelihood of needing braces increases and it can increase the chance of needing extractions with the braces if too much space is lost. Please try an electric toothbrush and encourage your child to brush and floss. If they see you flossing, it may help them to do so, also. The rechargeable toothbrushes are easier to manage and I feel better than most battery powered brushes. Of course, we also want to floss to decrease decay and minimize the need for fillings and tooth removal due to infection. I hope this reply is helpful and thank you for you good question. Dr. Barbara Utermark
Yes, especially for children over the age of 6. At 6 the adult molars and incisors begin to come in and typically the teeth become tighter at that time. Flossing ensures that the area where the teeth tough is kept clean. 

Marc D. Thomas DDS

I understand that she may give you a "hard time" but flossing is quite important and if you give in to the "hard time" she is giving you then she wins...you lose...and in the long run she loses. Try to make it fun for her to brush and floss. There are many games and apps for your phone that may help.
Flossing is critical to optimal dental health. Flossing prevents cavities in between teeth but also maintains gingival health. As a child flossing is critical to preventing dental caries however as the child ages and transitions to young adulthood flossing is essential to preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease. So in a nutshell flossing is necessary! Hope this helps! :)
as a parent and a pediatric dentist it is most important to pick your battles, especially with an 8yo.....oral health priority one is what goes in the mouth on a daily basis. #2 is to establish lifelong oral hygiene habits with brushing twice daily (after breakfast and after last evening 'snack'). generally speaking an 8yo isn't quite co-ordinated enough to floss by themselves and probably doesn't want the 'rents in their mouth.....i suggest once a week let them try to get in between the molars!
Yes! It is important for children to begin flossing because the bristles of a toothbrush do not get in between teeth unless your child has spacing. Children are prone to getting dental decay (cavities) in between their teeth, especially those back baby molars that can stay in the mouth until the age of 12.