Tips for Flossing
Brushing your teeth only does so much to prevent tooth decay. Plaque also builds up in between the teeth, in areas that cannot be reached with the bristles of a brush. We floss these areas to reduce plaque buildup and remove food debris.
Still, flossing is one of the most neglected areas of oral hygiene, especially with children. At Sierra Kids Dentistry, we strive to educate children on the importance of brushing and flossing. It all begins with the proper technique.
The Proper Flossing Technique
It will help if you begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. However, it is important to remember why you are doing it. Flossing to remove plaque and food debris can help you implement the proper technique.
The basic principles include:
|Take 12 to 18 inches of floss, and wrap a small amount around the index or middle finger of each hand.
|You want enough floss available to keep a clean segment in place as you move from tooth to tooth.
|Use your index fingers to guide the floss in between your child’s teeth gently. You want to keep about one or two inches of floss taut.
|While flossing, use a zig-zag motion to glide the floss in between each tooth. Be sure to contour the floss around the sides of the tooth to remove as much plaque as possible.
|As you move from tooth to tooth, unroll a fresh section of floss to avoid using the part of floss that already has plaque or food debris.
Common Flossing Mistakes
Our goal is to stop the spread of bacteria between and around your child’s teeth. These bacteria feed on sugars and other simple carbohydrates, causing them to produce the acids that eat away at enamel. The proper flossing technique can help keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.
The most common flossing mistakes include:
|Moving too fast. We recommend spending about ten seconds flossing each side of the tooth. If you or your child moves too fast, you risk plaque and tartar buildup.
|Missing certain areas. Many people, especially children, only floss one side of each tooth. Make sure your child focuses on removing plaque from both sides of the tooth.
|Bleeding gums. If your child neglects to floss regularly, their gums will likely bleed during flossing. Bleeding gums is one of the main indications that periodontal disease is present. Regular flossing will stop this bleeding and reduce their risk of periodontal disease.
|Flossing too often. Over-flossing can damage the gum tissue. We recommend flossing once a day before bed.
Using a Flosser
Many children struggle with flossing. The type of floss you buy your child should be kid-friendly. Sometimes, we recommend using a hand-held flosser, which can be much easier for young children to handle at first. Just be sure your child still implements the proper technique while using their flosser.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
Regular checkups and professional cleanings are vital to your child’s oral health. Call (775) 473-1247 to schedule an appointment now!