Flossing may seem like a tedious, boring, and difficult task, especially for kids. But if they don’t floss, about 35% of each tooth is left uncleaned, leaving them more susceptible to decay and cavities. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we know getting your child to follow good oral health habits can be a challenge, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Why is Flossing so Important?
Besides hitting the tough-to-reach areas that a toothbrush alone can’t clean, flossing can polish tooth surfaces by removing buildup and debris. It also eliminates plaque and bacteria that get wedged in between teeth which helps fight off bad breath. Overall, flossing should always be paired with brushing for a healthy mouth.
When Should Kids Start to Floss?
Good oral health habits start early, and flossing is no exception. Usually kids should start flossing between ages two and three. However, they may need help from a parent until about eight or ten to ensure they’re doing it correctly and for long enough to be beneficial.
What’s the Best Way to Floss?
There’s not one way to floss that’s better than another. What’s important is that you find the one that your child is comfortable with so they’re more likely to floss properly and regularly. Some flossing methods include:
- The Finger Wrap. This method takes a string of floss about 18-20 inches long and two fingers. Take the ends of the floss and wrap it around each middle finger a couple times and pull it to make it taut. Take the floss that’s between the fingers and wiggle it between each tooth in an up and down motion, getting under the gums and curved around the tooth.
- The Loop Method. Start again with about 18 inches of floss, but this time, tie the ends together to form a circle. Place all fingers except the thumbs inside the circle and use the pointer fingers to work the floss in between the lower teeth, and the thumbs for the upper. Again, get under the gum line and curve around each tooth.
- A Floss Pick. Some people find a floss pick or similar tool easier to use. This can be especially true for young kids or older adults who have limited dexterity. Use the same up and down, below the gums movement as the other methods.
Looking for more flossing tips? Call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment. We can help you and your child find the method that works best for an optimal clean and lifetime of healthy smiles.
Accepting patients from Long Island, Westbury, and all of Nassau County.