Jun 25, 2015 - 02:06 PM EST | Posted under: Pediatric Dentistry
Did you know that regular flossing is your child’s best defense against plaque? Many experts in family dentistry say that dental floss is more powerful than a toothbrush at removing this dangerous plaque that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Since flossing is so important, discover how to help your child learn to floss flawlessly
Facts on Flossing
Brushing is one of the basic components of at-home dental care, but flossing is the other. While brushing helps to remove a great deal of dental plaque, the toothbrush just can’t reach between the tight spaces in teeth. That’s why experts in family dentistry say that kids need to floss at least once a day for around three minutes each time in order to be effective. Flossing offers so many benefits, including:
- Removing hidden plaque both between and around the teeth
- Getting rid of food particles and debris that stick to the teeth and gums
- Polishing tooth surfaces
- Reducing bad breath
Forms of Floss
According to kids’ dentist experts, children may be resistant to flossing because they don’t like the kind they’re using. Luckily, there are many types of dental floss available in any drugstore, such as:
Focus on Flossing Techniques
It can be challenging for a child to handle dental floss, but there are many different ways to floss. Ask your child’s pediatric dentist to show you and your child the various flossing techniques to find the one that’s right for your child. Your kids’ dentist will likely recommend these three child-friendly flossing methods:
- Spool Style: This is also known as the “finger-wrap method” because kids will be wrapping the floss around their fingers. To use this technique, your child needs to take about an 18-inch piece of floss and wrap each side of the piece around each middle finger many times, leaving a small section of floss unwrapped to use. Then, they need to use their index fingers and thumbs to slide that free section of floss between their teeth in an up-and-down motion. When your child reaches the gumline, they should curve the floss in a “C” shape to clean below the gumline on the side of each tooth.
- Loop Technique: Also known as the circle method, this technique involves having your child take about an 18-inch section of floss and tie it tightly into a circle. Then, they need to place all of the fingers, except the thumb, inside the loop. Next, they use their index fingers to glide the floss through the lower teeth, while using their thumbs to glide it through their upper teeth. The child must make sure to form the floss into the shape of a “C” when they reach the gumline on the side of each tooth.
- Flossing Aids: If flossing is still too difficult for your child, experts in family dentistry recommend they use a pre-threaded flosser or floss holder. This can allow them to floss their teeth until they’re more comfortable handling floss.