Importance of Flossing in Children
Flossing should be done when your child is about 2 or 3 years old. It should be done under the supervision of a dentist. Flossing is not usually necessary prior to this age. Children usually need assistance with flossing until they are about 8 to 10 years.
The importance of flossing
Brushing properly and consistently remove most dental plaques. However brushing alone cannot remove plaque from places that toothbrush cannot reach such as between the teeth. In addition to removing plaque , flossing is also beneficial in the following ways :
- Remove debris that adheres to the teeth and gum in between the teeth.
- Polish tooth surface
- Control bad breath
Flossing should be done done at least once daily and between 2 to 3 minutes to be effective.
Types of dental floss
The different types of dental floss include the following :
- Waxed and unwaxed
- Flavored and unflavored
- Wide and regular
- Textured and smooth
Your dentist will demonstrate the following flossing techniques . They include :
Spool method (also called the finger-wrap method) :
- Cut off a piece of floss that is approximately 18 to 20 inches in length
- Lightly wrap each side of the piece of floss several times around each middle finger.
- Gently maneuver the floss in between the teeth with your index fingers and thumbs in an up and down, not side-to-side, motion.
- It is best to bring the floss up and down. Make sure to go below the gumline and bend it to form a “C” on the side of each tooth.
Loop method (also called the circle method) :
- Cut off a piece of floss that is approximately 18 inches long and tie it securely in a circle.
- Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the loop.
- Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the lower teeth. Use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth and make sure to go below the gumline, bending it to form a “C” on the side of each tooth.
Other flossing techniques
Flossing tools such as a prethreaded flosser or floss holder may be beneficial to people who are just learning how to floss, individuals with limited dexterity in their arms and/or hands, or persons who are flossing the teeth of someone else (especially a child or disabled person).
Oral irrigators are not a substitute for brushing and flossing. These devices may be useful around orthodontic braces that retain food or in areas a brush cannot reach. However they do not contain plaque that contain harmful bacteria.
Content SourcesFlossing and children. Stanford Children’s Hospital. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=flossing-and-children-90-P01852&sid=33173. Accessed January 13th, 2019
Brushing and Flossing Children’s Teeth. WebMD. Brushing and Flossing Children’s Teeth. Accessed January 13th, 2019
Teaching Your Children How To Brush And Floss. Colgate. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/teaching-your-children-how-to-brush-and-floss-1013. Accessed January 13th, 2019