The Importance of Flossing

Are you experiencing difficulty helping your child to floss? Do you think they’re too young to floss or wonder if there’s a more straightforward way for them to care for their teeth?  Learning good dental hygiene habits while young is vital to extending the life of your child’s teeth, so instilling the importance of flossing early on is vital.

However, many children don’t like to floss for a variety of reasons. A common complaint children have is that flossing is painful or uncomfortable. In most cases, this results from not knowing how to floss correctly, which a friendly dentist can correct. However, without that guiding hand, a child can grow disdainful of, and eventually abandon flossing entirely.

At Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry, we approach preventive dental care (like flossing) in a simple way for kids to understand. Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons why flossing is so crucial to your child’s dental development and oral health.

Flossing Reaches Tight Spaces

Children tend to see their teeth as having only a front and a back, so they may think that the simple act of brushing is comprehensive enough to reach every spot. Even if your child understands hard-to-reach spaces, the way toothpaste foams can create the sensation that the entire mouth is clean. If that’s the case, why take additional steps?

Of course, as adults, we recognize that teeth are more complicated than that. Brushing alone doesn’t reach the entirety of narrow areas, like the spaces between adjacent teeth, and doesn’t permanently dislodge food that gets stuck. You should explain to your child that dental floss is the easiest way to make sure any pieces of food get removed.

Flossing Removes Additional Plaque

When your child has that fresh, polished feeling from brushing, they don’t realize anything can remain in those same tight spaces. When flossing is absent from a brushing routine, bacteria can thrive and create problems in the future. Plaque and bacteria can lead to decay, wrecking teeth through cavities, and other issues. At that point, there’s little child dentistry can do to prevent further harm except to put caps on a toddler’s teeth.

Bacteria buildup can potentially affect more than your child’s teeth. When it spreads to their gums, it can create oversensitivity and bleeding. Should it affect the blood, it can travel to and infect other parts of the body. Given how little time it takes and how much damage it can prevent, instilling good flossing habits in your child is the best preventive dental care you can perform. 

Why Should My Child Floss Their Baby Teeth?

While baby teeth will fall out regardless of how well you care for them, it’s still essential that your child takes care of them. For starters, it’s easier to develop these skills and habits while they are young. Once they get the hang of brushing and flossing, it will be easier for you to teach them about other aspects of oral hygiene. They’ll also be less likely to need extensive (and expensive) dental work.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect a child so young to floss their teeth. As soon they have two adjacent teeth, you can teach your little one to floss by doing it for them. Expect to do this for at least a few years before letting your child do it for themselves.

How Can I Get My Child To Like Flossing?

While education and instruction go a long way, children may still be hesitant to take up flossing. It can be scary or physically uncomfortable for them, and forcing the practice may make them resist even more. Here are some tips to make flossing more appealing to kids:

  • Brush and floss with them to set a good example. Take the lead by brushing and flossing your teeth first and let them see what you’re doing. Demonstrating in this way can ease a lot of anxiety and show that it’s perfectly safe. 
  • Use the right kind of floss for children. It may feel weird to shop around for something like floss, but it can make a big difference when it comes to your kid’s comfort. You can easily find brands specifically for children, but you should seek soft floss to prevent harming their gums in general.
  • Let your child pick the floss they want to use. With the above parameters in mind, you can give your little one a sense of control by letting them pick their floss. Kids find this fun because there are so many flavors to choose from

Trust Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dental care is a partnership between parents and an experienced child’s dentist. 

At Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry, we provide friendly dental care and education to parents and children alike. Our pediatric dental team is caring and capable, and we offer regular examinations, primary care, preventative care, restorative dentistry, emergency and sedation dentistry. 

Reach out to us now and begin building a healthy future for your child’s smile.