Flossing is incredibly important to keep the spaces between teeth clean, which are often neglected. If your child doesn’t floss regularly, then their teeth – and overall health – could suffer.
Excessive Plaque and Cavities
If your child is not flossing, then plaque can build up between their teeth and lead to cavities. Plaque is colorless and difficult to see. When you eat, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars found in your food to create an acid that attacks your teeth. Repeated acidic attacks can wear down tooth enamel and lead to cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Excessive plaque buildup can eventually turn into tartar – a hard, dark substance that can make it harder to clean teeth. Tartar buildup can cause gum disease, and lead to serious gum infections. These infections can damage the tissue that holds teeth in place, and lead to tooth loss. Additionally, tartar can’t be brushed or flossed away like plaque, and can only be removed by professional dental treatment.
Not brushing and flossing regularly can cause swollen, sensitive gums that bleed when they are brushed. Bleeding gums are often an early indication of gingivitis, otherwise known as gum disease. Plaque between teeth that is not flossed away can infect the gum line and lead to gingivitis.
If your child has tender, swollen gums that bleed when they brush or floss, then it’s time to schedule an appointment and evaluate their oral health. Gum disease is very treatable and can be prevented by regular brushing and flossing.
Our Favorite Flossing Tips
Here’s a basic guide that will help you floss your children’s teeth:
1. Use about 12-18 inches of dental floss. If that is too difficult, try using flossing tools like soft flossing picks.
2. Use wide, flat dental tape to floss your children’s teeth. The width of the floss helps with the larger spaces in children’s teeth.
3. Be gentle when flossing children’s teeth, and avoid applying too much pressure on their gums.
4. Floss both sides of the teeth, and make sure to gently dip beneath the gum lime.
For more detailed flossing pointers, check out this handy flossing guide provided by the ADA.
Begin Flossing Early
Recent studies have found that 43% of school-aged children have never flossed. To help familiarize your child with flossing, begin flossing their teeth as soon as their first two teeth touch. It’s important to get into a healthy mouth care routine with your children at an early age so that they can brush and floss as they get older and become more independent.
If your child is uncomfortable flossing, then schedule an appointment with our office. We’ll help teach them about the proper way to floss in a relaxed way that encourages them to take action in their oral health.