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Are Flossing and Using Mouthwash Right for Kids?

Aug 12, 2014 - 04:08 PM EST |  Posted under: General
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Most parents know that teaching their kids proper dental care techniques and habits is one of their most important duties. Conveying the necessity of brushing twice a day and visiting the dentist often is something that most moms and dads take seriously. However, that is not to say that there is widespread understanding of the valuable roles that flossing and mouthwash can play in children’s oral health.

Dental floss is a valuable tool for maintaining healthy teeth and gums because of its ability to eradicate food particles, bacteria, and plaque from hard-to-reach places between the teeth. If allowed to remain, these substances have the potential to produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel, eventually causing tooth decay and gum disease. Thus, regular flossing is an integral part of sound dental care practices for adults everywhere.

So, the question is whether or not kids ought to be shown how to floss teeth when young, even though their baby teeth are destined to fall out anyway. The answer comes down to an emphatic yes! Using floss on children’s teeth helps rid their mouths of bacteria that can cause not only tooth decay but also dangerous infections. Young children will require assistance when it comes to flossing, but kids nine and older will be able to handle flossing on their own.

Adults use mouthwash to reduce plaque buildup, eliminate bacteria, and guard against gum disease. There are also fluoride products available that are meant to protect against tooth decay. Not only that, mouthwash tends to freshen the breath and provide a clean feeling. But, although countless adults love mouthwash, is it appropriate for kids?

Unlike flossing, which is valuable even for the smallest of children, using mouthwash should be delayed until at least the age of six, according to the American Dental Association. The point is to hold off on introducing mouthwash until children are able to stop themselves from swallowing it, so excessive ingestion of alcohol and fluoride does not occur. After age six, though, children’s mouthwash products can help to fight bacteria, acid, and tooth decay.

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