It is well known that a combination of brushing, flossing and periodic dental checkups are essential to oral health. Some parents teach their children to brush thoroughly early on, even taking them for dental visits at young ages so youngsters can become acclimated to the dentist’s office. But flossing is one component of oral hygiene that may be overlooked because many kids simply don’t enjoy it.
Flossing is one of those tasks that people understand they must do regularly, but many still do not. According to Humana Dental, flossing cleans bacteria and trapped food from between the teeth, but floss is required to get into the small crevices to prevent bacteria from turning into plaque buildup. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day. It is far better to floss once a day and do a thorough job rather than several times a day and miss areas of the mouth by doing it quickly.
Children should be urged to floss regularly in addition to brushing. However, flossing can be cumbersome for youngsters who have yet to develop to dexterity needed to manipulate dental floss. There are many products available and techniques that can be used to assist children with cleaning between their teeth.
• Begin the introduction to floss early. The younger children are introduced to floss, the more likely they are to embrace it as a part of their oral hygiene routine.
• Show visual proof of the benefits of flossing. Children are more likely to respond to something they can see, so show pictures of dental decay and what occurs when proper oral hygie3ne is not followed.
• Get the proper tools. Kids can’t floss unless they have floss products on hand. There are various age-appropriate flossers and types of dental floss available. One of those is floss picks, which are much easier to hold and work between teeth, particularly for kids with small hands.
• Let kids choose. Take kids down the dental aisle at the store and let them pick and choose which products they want to use. They may be more excited to brush and floss if they’re using something they picked out themselves.
• Lead by example. Children will be more likely to floss if they see their parents flossing. That means adults should floss regularly, and let their children watch and learn.
Todd McAdams, D.D.S.
420 Rocky Knob Lane, Fayetteville, (931) 433-5794