Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene in adults, and kids need to floss too in order for their smile to remain healthy and cavity-free. Once a child’s teeth start getting close together (usually between the ages of two and six) parents should start getting their children in the habit of flossing daily, with assistance of course. Children usually develop the ability to floss on their own around age 10.
Without flossing, tartar and plaque can build up between teeth, causing cavities and eventually leading to gingivitis.
Here are the top three reasons your child should start flossing:
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Without flossing, food debris can build up between teeth and create a feeding ground for unhealthy bacteria to grow. These bacteria can emit sulfur compounds, which tend to give off a stinky smell, similar to rotten eggs.
If you find that your child’s breath is starting to smell, it might be due to improper flossing habits.
Plaque and Cavities
The bacteria that grows between teeth without proper flossing feeds on sugar (natural or not) that is in the foods your child eats. This process creates an acid that attacks teeth!
If these acidic attacks are repeated, they can wear down tooth enamel which leads to cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Brushing and flossing regularly keeps not only your child’s teeth clean and healthy, but their gums too. Skipping out on brushing or flossing can lead to swollen, sensitive gums that bleed when brushed. Bleeding gums are an early sign of gum disease – also known as gingivitis.
If your child is experiencing tender, swollen gums, it might be time to schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist to have them take a look and evaluate their oral health.
Helpful Flossing Tools for Children
We all know how tough it can be to form the flossing habit; so getting started early is a great way to start building it – but flossing isn’t a one-size-fit-all solution. Teeth come in all shapes and sizes, with different spacing and configurations.
Here are a few tools to use that make cleaning between those teeth easier:
This is a great solution for children with different sized spaces between teeth. Ultra floss can be stretched thin to fit between tightly bunched teeth, but is also wide enough to comfortable clean wider gaps.
Getting between and under braces is tough. Using a floss threader can help get the floss where it needs to be!
Dental tape is another great solution for children with larger gaps between teeth. It is wide, flat and designed to be gentle on exposed gums.
Brushing alone isn’t enough to keep your child’s smile completely healthy. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once daily can prevent a lot of oral ailments that are easily avoidable.
If your child is experiencing abnormally bad breath or bleeding gums, you can schedule an appointment with one of our Ormond Beach or Port Orange pediatric dentists, to have us take a look. Please call us or request an appointment online.