Tooth brushing every day can help with removing most dental plaque, however brushing alone cannot remove plaque in places a toothbrush cannot reach, especially in between teeth. By flossing your teeth, you reduce the amount of dental plaque in between your teeth and help reduce your risk of dental decay and gum infection. Gum infection can result in gingival bleeding which is why you may notice blood when flossing your teeth. Bleeding is a good indication for you to brush and floss even more thoroughly in the region as it is likely the bacterial load in this region is high and requires better cleaning.

So when is a good age to start flossing your child’s teeth?

The answer is simply when your child develops teeth that are joined by neighbouring teeth. As soon as teeth are positioned side by side, a toothbrush cannot adequately reach the space in between. By not flossing these areas we allow plaque to accumulate and increase the risk of dental cavities and gum infection. Cavities that are formed in between the teeth are sometimes difficult to see, so although things may seem okay when you’re looking inside your child’s mouth, you may not be able to see the cavities that are occurring deep in between the teeth. This is also why it is important to have routine dental x-rays taken. X-rays help dentists diagnose surfaces of the teeth they cannot themselves examine in the mouth. Having a diagnosis for each tooth can then determine what treatment if any is required.


1. Guide the floss between teeth and under the gumline using a gentle back and forth motion.

2. Curve the floss around the tooth.

3. Use gentle up and down motion to remove food and plaque.

4. Repeat until each tooth has been cleaned, rinsing the flosser with water after use between each interdental space.


Sometimes flossing with regular string floss used by adults is difficult for children to use. To begin with we recommend using flossettes. Flossettes have specially designed handles with a thumb grip for greater control. Its curved head also allows easy insertion of floss between teeth and the relaxed floss tension helps minimise gum irritation.

The Importance of Flossing
The act of flossing can help to polish and clean the sides of teeth and to remove tartar which could lead to tooth decay between teeth. Flossing also helps to fend off bad breath, since it whisks away odour-causing bacteria and food grime. It is very important to teach your child to brush and floss everyday!
In general, it is best to begin flossing as soon as your child’s teeth start to fit closely together. This usually happens between the ages of two and six. If you aren’t sure whether it is time for your child to begin flossing, talk to us at your next appointment!

A step by step guide from the Australian Dental Association on the best way to floss your teeth!


For further instructions on how to show your child the best way to floss your teeth, click on the link below!

A great little video to help kids learn how and when to floss their teeth to keep them in great shape!

And finally a great video from the Australian Dental Association with some pro tips on flossing.

Thanks to our wonderful Oral Health Therapist, Kay.
She works at the Werribee clinic.
If you would like to talk to her or any of our amazing team, about this or any other questions you may have, please contact us on 03 9372 8960.