Why Is Flossing Important? When should a child start flossing? How should I floss my child’s teeth? My child’s gums bleed when I floss- what should I do? How do I teach my child to floss?
These and many more questions we get asked a lot in our pediatric dentistry clinic. Here is why flossing is super important even for your little one.
According to the American Dental Association children should start flossing once their teeth begin to fit together and grow in snug contact between one another. This happens mostly between 3 and 6 years of age. This is why the recommendation is to floss children’s teeth at least once a day, before or after meals.
Here Are 4 Reasons Why Flossing is Important, How Can It Help?
To clean the gaps:
while brushing you cleanse the surface of your teeth that is accessible to a brush; but how about the rest! Did you know that: Forty percent (40%) of the tooth surface is actually between the teeth. Flossing cleans the gaps between the teeth, as well as under the gum line and remove the leftover food that brushing definitely does not reach.
To prevent cavities:
Think about it left over food if it is allowed to stay for a while, the bacteria start to ferment it and cavities do develop. The problem with cavities that start between the teeth is they go undiagnosed for quiet a bit of time before their discovery! The reason is they are not visible to the naked eye. Only when their size grows much and is then visible they can be seen, at this point, the cavity has progressed enough and endangers the exposure of the nerve!
To prevent gum disease:
It is a definite cycle of decay and gum disease caused by bacteria fermenting leftover food stuck between the teeth. If gum disease harbors bacteria, decay cavities can start between teeth too!
To control bad breath:
Bacteria lead to bad breath. Most of the bacteria are present on the tongue – Read This Blog: Three Facts Why Your Child Suffers from Bad Breath – that’s a fact. However, the rest of the bacteria accumulate around the gums and between the teeth; the areas that are brushed the least and reached the least with the brush.
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Here are 4 important tips:
- Use the most effective flossing tool for your child whether it’s the normal tape, or a stick floss or even an airflosser, they all do the trick! Ask your dentist for children for his opinion as to which suits your child’s needs better.
- Floss at night to make sure your child teeth are squeaky clean before he/she goes to bed.
- Make flossing fun and easy and don’t forget to do it for them until they are 8 or 10 and then supervise them there after.
- When your child first begins flossing, his gums may bleed a little. No need to worry! This is common. The more the floss, the less the gum bleeds and the less the dental problems. If the bleeding does not go away though after the first few times, let your pediatric dentist know at your next appointment.
Here are 3 easy steps that can make flossing fun and easy:
- Use Kid-friendly flossers which were designed for children’s small mouths and sensitive gums.
- Use age-appropriate products can help young children have a positive relationship with oral health and get them used to daily flossing habit.
- Make activities and games to help them learn how flossing works:
- Make a fake mouth to show the need for floss.
- Let your child wrap the floss around his/her fingers to practice the technique.
- Kindly, remind your child to floss every day, you can use a colored chart.
- Watch them while flossing, to show them that they are doing a good job.
- Let them shop for flossing products, to motivate them to use it.
Techniques to floss your child’s teeth:
- Floss holders, small Y-shaped devices that hold floss.
- Floss threads, which you can use as the following:
- Wrap the ends of an 18-inch (46 cm) to 24-inch (61 cm) section of floss around your middle fingers, brush your teeth after.
- Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers of both hands.
- Use your thumbs to floss your upper teeth, and gently slide the floss between your teeth.
- Use a gentle up and down motion to clean the area.
- Repeat the process between each tooth.
- Don’t forget the backs of your rear molars, it can be a little bit harder to get in there.
- Rinse your mouth out with water when you’re done flossing.
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- Use the Air flosser interdentally between the back molars for children.
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We know you do want healthy teeth and healthy gums for your child, just as much as we want to see them always with great smiles! Remember the earlier you start this habit, the healthier their mouths are!
“To a lifetime of healthy happy smiles!”