Does your child floss their teeth on a daily basis? Flossing can be difficult to get in the habit of doing, especially for children, but it is extremely beneficial for dental and oral health. Dentists recommend flossing once a day to keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Why should you make sure your child flosses every day? Here are 5 good reasons.
- Prevent tooth decay. One of the most common places that cavities form is between the teeth. This is because plaque, a sticky film made of food residue and bacteria, builds up between the teeth where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Flossing removes plaque from between your teeth and the pockets of space between your teeth and gums. This prevents bacteria from eating away at your tooth enamel and forming cavities.
- Prevent gum disease. Another problem caused by plaque is gum disease. When plaque remains on the teeth for too long, especially between the teeth and along the gum line, the bacteria eventually infects the gum tissue causing gum disease. Flossing can prevent gum disease by removing plaque. It also strengthens the gum tissue, making it more resilient and resistant to infection.
- Keep your breath fresh. Flossing can freshen your breath in a variety of ways. By removing food and bacteria from between the teeth it eliminates one source of bad breath. Flossing also prevents gum disease, which causes severe bad breath due to the infection that is present.
- Reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between gum disease and both diabetes and heart disease. Tooth decay is also related to heart disease. There are multiple theories to explain the connection, but the bottom line is that flossing daily can prevent gum disease and reduce your risk of more severe health conditions.
- Save money. Even with dental insurance, procedures can be costly. Cavity fillings, root canals, periodontal treatment, tooth replacement, and more could all be necessary due to tooth decay and gum disease. But the need for these procedures could have been prevented by daily flossing.
How to Floss
Many children avoid flossing simply because they aren’t sure how to do it. Very young children should start by using plackers, which is basically a piece of floss on a stick. Parents will need to floss their child’s teeth until the child can do it on his/her own effectively. Parents should begin flossing their child’s teeth once any teeth are touching. This age varies from child to child, and your pediatric dentist can help identify the right time to start flossing.
Once they are older and ready to use string floss, teach them the following method:
Pull out a piece of floss between 18-24 inches long. Wrap it around both of your forefingers until they are about 2 inches apart. Using your thumbs and forefingers, gently slide the floss down between your teeth until it reaches the gums. Slightly wrap the floss around each tooth and be sure to get it down into the pocket between the tooth and gums. Do this between each of your teeth on both the top and bottom rows. Dentists usually recommend flossing first and brushing your teeth afterwards because flossing may dislodge food or plaque that can be more easily brushed away.
Types of Floss
There are a few different types of floss available:
- String floss (waxed or unwaxed). This is the traditional type of floss that is essentially like string. It comes on a spool in a small plastic box and may be either waxed or unwaxed.
- Superfloss. Superfloss has a reinforced end like a shoestring with a thicker, spongy texture. It is useful for getting in between teeth with larger gaps and for flossing with braces.
- Flossing sticks. Often called plackers, these are plastic sticks with a U-shape at the top and floss suspended across it. You simply push the floss down between each of your teeth using the plastic handle.
- Water flosser. A water flosser is an electric device that sprays water forcefully through a wand you can place at the opening between each of your teeth. The force of the water removes the plaque from the spaces between your teeth. Water flossers are particularly handy at getting under dental prosthetics like braces and dentures.
Dental Buddies of Vero Beach Provides Flossing Instruction for Kids
We can teach your child how to properly floss their teeth when they come in for routine dental cleanings and exams. We can also help parents identify the right time to start flossing and give parents tips on how to best complete this recommended nightly oral hygiene routine. A big part of our job as a pediatric dental practice is to help children establish good oral hygiene habits at an early age so that they continue throughout their life. We recommend that parents schedule the first dental visit at around age one.
Call 772-226-6888 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We have extended hours for the summer months!