Read my latest newsletter →

Deep Cleaning Teeth With Flossing: How To Create Good Habits For Kids

Dental Health

Deep Cleaning Teeth With Flossing: How To Create Good Habits For Kids

If there is one area of oral hygiene that we all readily admit to falling behind on it’s undoubtedly flossing.  Why? Because it’s awkward, some of the contacts between our teeth are too tight, and it’s just plain strange to use a thin string to clean any part of ourselves. So when I ask parents if they are flossing their children’s teeth, I get a lot of “Are you kidding me?” looks. How do we create good habits for kids around flossing?

“Brushing without flossing is like showering while keeping your arms at your side.”

 

Do we need to floss children’s teeth, and if so, why and starting when?

The simple answer to the first question is “Yes, we do need to floss children’s teeth; even though they are baby teeth”. Interproximal caries, cavities in between the teeth, are one of the most common places that we find decay in children. Flossing, cleaning the area between the teeth, should logically help alleviate this. If that’s not enough reason consider what a wise instructor in dental school once told me about flossing: “Brushing without flossing is like showering while keeping your arms at your side” or his advice to patients “Only floss the teeth you want to keep”.

“Only floss the teeth you want to keep.”

When to start with flossing is actually a pretty easy answer. Consider what you are trying to accomplish and the answer becomes clear. Once the bristles of the toothbrush can’t get in between the teeth to clean them because the teeth are in contact with one another, it’s time to floss. It doesn’t matter if your child is 18 months, three and a half, or eight years old.  The set up of their teeth gives you the answer.  Typically though, the first teeth with closed spaces between them are the baby molars, usually around 3 – 4 years old.  You will not harm the gums by flossing. Letting plaque and bacteria accumulate will.

You will not harm the gums by flossing. Letting plaque and bacteria accumulate will.

Since a long string of floss wrapped around your fingers in your child’s mouth sounds like a recipe for getting your fingers chomped on, consider using flossers, also known as floss sticks. They are less cumbersome, they spare your fingers, and allow you better access to the far reaches on the mouth. And provided that you wipe the string so you are not just transferring plaque from one spot to the next, flossers can be just as effective as traditional string floss.

So start tonight adding flossing the your brushing routine at least once a day, and you’ll be cleaning 40% more tooth surfaces than you did without floss.

Dina-TakeAways-1(386)

Quick Tips:

  • Floss if the teeth are touching, no matter the age

  • Cavities between the teeth are very common

  • Use flossers if that’s easier

Evan Zaretsky
Written By: Evan Zaretsky

Evan is a pediatric dentist and owner of Durham Kids Dentistry in Whitby, the only pediatric dental office in the Whitby Oshawa Bowmanville area.

You might also enjoy

I Owe My Smile to Dr. B

I Owe My Smile to Dr. B

When I was in grade 8, like so many other kids, I got braces. Thankfully I didn’t have braces for very long, but I didn’t love the experience. I don’t think anyone does. But you know what? I am SO glad I got them. My teeth are straight, and they align well and I can eat all my favorite foods. It may have seemed like a nuisance but was worth it. Thanks Dr. B!

Why Are Kids Still Getting Cavities?

Why Are Kids Still Getting Cavities?

We're So Well  Informed, So Why Are Kids Still Getting Cavities? We know more now more than ever about how to prevent cavities. We know we should eat healthy, clean our teeth properly and see our dentist every 6 months. Why is the incidence of cavities is on the rise?...

Dr. Dina Kulik - Subscribe to my Blog
Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

.
.
.

.

.
 

Yes! 
close-link

Success! Check Your Inbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

COVID Toolbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

.

Success! Thanks for Subscribing!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

.

Success! Thanks for Subscribing!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health - Constipation Management

Success! Check Your Inbox