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Five Reasons to Start Flossing Your Children's Teeth Early

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque.  Gaining an early start on flossing can significantly reduce cavity-causing bacteria in your child's mouth, leading to healthier teeth and gums.   Here are five great reasons to start flossing early:

Flossing Gets Rid of Plaque

Plaque is a soft, sticky film that constantly builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. When your child eats, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars in the food to produce acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. Repeated attacks cause the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in a cavity (or hole) in the tooth surface.  

30% of Tooth Surface Not Reached by Brushing

Brushing cleans the surface of the teeth - but about 30% of your child's tooth surface is unreachable by their toothbrush.  That's why flossing is so important.  It removes plaque and tiny amounts of food debris in between teeth.  

Dental Hygiene Visits Are Easier For Your Child

Plaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar

around the gum line. Flossing allows you to remove the plaque that causes tartar while it's in its early form: sticky, soft and pliable.   Once plaque becomes tartar, it can't be removed without professional help.  Most kids (and adults) don't enjoy the scraping the

 Dental H

ygienist must do to remove tartar.    

Flossing Can Save Money and Time

In an era of rising health care costs and diminishing insurance benefits, it pays to take steps to reduce your dental expenses. Flossing is inexpensive, easy and takes under a minute.  Compare this to the costs (missed work, cost of care) associated with having a cavity filled.

Early Oral Hygiene Routines Lead To Better Outcomes

Teaching your child to floss when they start to brush will help them develop a strong oral hygiene routine that will have a significant impact on their dental health.   

How To Help Your Child Floss

Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, parents should get their children in the habit of flossing daily. 

Here are some tips on helping your child become a good flosser:

  • Learning Curve.  Because flossing requires more hand-eye coordination and dexterity than most young children have, they will need help with flossing from an adult until they can start doing it on their own. As a general rule, when your child starts to learn cursive (around second or third grade), they’re skilled enough to floss solo.  
  • Good habits take time to develop.  Give your kids some positive reinforcement.  A combination of gentle reminders and praise when kids floss (both with help and on their own), will keep them excited about taking care of their teeth.
  • Be a good example.  Brushing and flossing your teeth alongside your kids will reinforce good habits to them and enable you make sure that they are doing it correctly.
  • Follow up.  Even older kids can use some follow-up.  Make sure your older kids and teens have dental floss available, are using proper flossing technique, and are flossing each day. 
  • Fun Flossing Tools.  The best flossing tools for children are the ones that will make flossing a fun and a life-long daily habit.Winding dental floss around little fingers can be tricky.   Luckily, kid-friendly floss sticks are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes and characters. 

Our Dental Hygienists are trained to teach flossing skills to our youngest patients, and will happily give you some tips to help at home.  Is it time for their cleaning and exam?  Give our office a call at 919 755 3450 or schedule

online

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