Most parents have many questions about their child’s oral health at bi-annual dental checkups because the state of a child’s teeth is a direct reflection on your oral hygiene efforts as a parent. One of the questions we hear most from parents is when to start flossing baby teeth. As soon as baby teeth emerge and begin to touch each other, flossing should start even for young children. The tight spaces between teeth are hard to reach and ideal for plaque to develop.
When first starting to floss for your child, have them sit or lie down to make the process easier for everyone. Read on for more flossing tips and at what age your child should be able to maneuver floss themselves effectively.
Infrequent Flossing: A Major Factor of Childhood Tooth Decay
Childhood tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness in America, according to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. Many children’s daily oral hygiene routine lacks consistency and the dedication needed to prevent long-term tooth decay. As a parent, your job in cleaning your child’s teeth doesn’t stop at brushing. Not only does flossing baby teeth make for a healthy routine, but it can start the habit of daily flossing at an early age before permanent teeth come in.
Benefits of Flossing Baby Teeth
Brushing teeth correctly and consistently will help remove most of any built-up dental plaque. However, brushing alone will not remove plaque located in places that a toothbrush can’t reach. These hard-to-reach places include between the teeth and under the gums.
Regular, consistent flossing is one of the most important steps towards protecting a child’s teeth from cavity-causing plaque. It can be nearly impossible to get the reach you need to floss a child’s teeth with traditional dental floss. To ensure you’re able to effectively remove plaque and debris from your child’s teeth, try a dental floss pick with a long handle to make things easier.
Many floss brands make picks that are specifically for children, so they’re easier for a parent or an older child to grip. An electric water flosser is an excellent investment if you struggle with getting your child to floss. While these don’t entirely replace the need for traditional floss, they do help to remove debris from between the teeth with minimal effort.
Flossing Methods Dentists Recommend
Take full advantage of the time you spend caring for your child’s teeth by teaching your kids how to brush and floss properly. The best way to ensure that your children remember all the steps of their oral hygiene routine is by verbally explaining the steps out loud as you do them. Show your child how to wrap the dental floss around their index finger to reduce slippage. Teach your kids how to relax the floss into a “C” shape and gently glide it between their teeth, and don’t forget about using a new section of floss when moving from tooth to tooth to prevent spreading germs.
Most children (and parents!) struggle with getting kids to floss. Set the best example possible by brushing and flossing alongside your little ones and make dental care a family activity.
If you’re struggling with flossing your young child’s teeth, ask Hinsdale Dentistry for a few tips to help make flossing easier at your child’s next dental exam. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.