A Kid's Dentist Explains the Importance of Flossing
One of the questions that parents frequently ask our kid's dentist office is whether or not it is important for their children to start flossing. The answer to this question is yes. Flossing is one of those oral hygiene habits that parents need to start teaching their child as soon as possible. Flossing helps give the mouth a full cleaning, along with brushing. Children are especially prone to eating sticky and gummy products that can often get stuck between the teeth. This provides a perfect breeding ground for the oral bacteria in the mouth to grow and prosper in a way that will eventually lead to cavities.
Teach Flossing Early in Childhood
Due to a lack of flossing among children, something that kid's dentists are actively focusing on, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of cavities across the United States. Think of a child's teeth in terms of nooks and crannies, that cannot easily be reached by a toothbrush. By teaching children to floss, or flossing for them, parents can help to remove some of the stuff that gets stuck between the teeth and can end up creating cavities. As a kid's dentist, we highly recommend that you floss your child's teeth at least once per night if they are not old enough to floss themselves.
It is not uncommon for a kid's dentist to be told by a child that they often do not feel any different when they finish flossing their teeth. This is something that they get from their parents, who also do not feel any different after flossing their teeth. This is because most people psychologically are comparing flossing to brushing their teeth, or rinsing them out with a minty mouthwash. The truth is that when you brush your teeth with a nice flavor toothpaste or rinse it with mouthwash, you are going to get a pleasant smell and that minty fresh feeling. However, with flossing you are actually going to be getting a far more comprehensive cleaning.
Flossing Needs to be Part of a Regular Routine
A popular analogy is that one does not wash a cup on the outside and then put the half dirty cup back into the cupboard. In a similar fashion, when one does not floss his or her teeth, it leaves them partially dirty. Food can get stuck between the teeth and lead to cavities, decay, or gum disease. For a kid's dentist, it is vital that parents understand the importance of flossing a child's teeth at night and that they pass on these good habits to their children. With proper flossing, a child will not have to visit a kid's dentist for emergency care, but regular checkups that are less serious and quick.
The great news is that kids can adapt to the routine of flossing very easily. Once they learn the habits, children are more likely to follow through with it for the rest of their lives. The second piece of good news is that once a child starts flossing, gum disease has virtually no opportunity to flourish. As long as you are also bringing your child in at least once every six months for a professional hygienist cleaning, your child will continue to avoid the worst oral health issues for a healthy mouth.