Of all the areas of child tooth care that can be most difficult to get kids themselves on board with, flossing may top the list. The little bits of pain plus the dexterity necessary to floss on their own can become roadblocks to children ever developing good flossing habits.
At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, our child dental services include imparting the knowledge that both parents and children need to maintain proper tooth and gum health. Let’s look at the basics of flossing.
Why Flossing Matters
Flossing provides benefits to both the teeth and the gums. It helps kids reach plaque and other debris that their toothbrush couldn’t have, especially considering the weaker fingers and limited dexterity younger children possess. Flossing also helps polish teeth as it runs over them, and improves breath by removing food particles.
For the gums, flossing might be even more important. Many gum-related issues are some of the largest problems in the mouth, but they can be prevented in many cases by removing extra debris that sticks to them and creates issues.
Learning a couple of the simplest flossing methods is a great way to inform yourself, plus then you can pass it on to your kids at the right age to encourage their continued participation. The two most well-known methods for flossing:
- Loop method: Tie the floss in a circle, then place your non-thumb fingers inside it to hold the floss steady. Then use your index finger to guide floss over lower teeth, and the thumb to guide it on the upper teeth.
- Finger wrap: Cut off some floss and wrap it around each of your middle fingers, using these as anchors to floss each tooth. Floss up and down, not side to side, and make sure you hit below the gum line. The finger wrap technique is often simpler to teach to children.
Different Types of Floss
There are a few different types of floss available, and mixing it up might help keep kids interested. In some cases they won’t care, and you’ll just choose yourself. You’ll choose between waxed or unwaxed, with the former often coming with a smoother feel. Flavored or unflavored is another consideration — flavored might make kids a bit more enthusiastic. You can purchase wide floss if your child has a gap between teeth, or textured floss if they prefer it.
Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry is your go-to kids dentist for all flossing and tooth health practices. To learn more about our services, speak to one of our staff members today.