Flossing young children’s teeth and getting the older kids to floss is the number one frustration that parents report to us in our pediatric dental office. When asked why flossing causes so much frustration, here are some reasons that parents give:
So, with all this frustration, why do we need to floss in the first place? As children get closer to age 4, the teeth in the back that were once spaced out start to touch. The toothbrush bristles cannot get in between to clean these tight contacts. As a result, we miss cleaning these contact areas that account for nearly one third of our tooth surfaces. Food particles and bacteria (known as plaque) are left between the teeth.
As we eat and drink beverages every day, bacteria will continue to grow and multiply. The bacteria feed on the sugars in our diet to produce acid, which breaks down our teeth and cause decay.
2 Tips for flossing teeth comfortably:
Whether you use floss wrapped around the fingers or pre-threaded floss with a handle, it takes some practice to be able to floss comfortably. Your child will need assistance until he/she acquires the manual dexterity required to floss independently.
Should flossing be done before or after brushing? As long as one flosses thoroughly, it does not matter whether one flosses before or after brushing.