As parents, we at PDAO understand that flossing is not the top priority in most homes. It can be difficult enough to get your child to brush their teeth, and flossing feels like an impossible ask. But flossing is critical to your child’s oral health! Let’s take a look at the benefits of flossing and a few products that can help you establish good oral health habits in your home.
The American Dental Association recommends cleaning your teeth daily with an interdental cleaner, such as floss, as it has several benefits. First, it helps get rid of plaque. Have you ever noticed that your toothbrush bristles only clean the outsides of your teeth? They are not small enough to reach between your teeth, leaving behind food and plaque that can cause cavities. This is the most common—and dangerous—place for cavities to develop. When a cavity grows while touching another tooth, the bacteria can carry over to the neighboring tooth and create a second cavity.
Flossing also helps prevent gum disease. While most five and six-year-olds are not at risk, gingivitis and other gum diseases affect many teenagers and young adults. When flossing, the floss goes below the gum line, cleaning the gums in ways that a toothbrush cannot. Because the habits we create often stay with us throughout adulthood, it’s imperative that children learn to floss as soon as their teeth begin to touch.
Lastly, flossing reduces bad breath. It might sound horrifying, but you can have food stuck between your teeth for days without knowing. Many kids will try to work the food out with their tongue, but the only way to ensure the food has been removed is by using floss.
Luckily, there are several products that make flossing a breeze. Your basic box of string floss will get the job done, but we know this isn’t the easiest way to introduce our child to flossing. We often recommend floss picks for children because they help kids develop dexterity while getting used to the act of flossing. There are countless child-friendly designs and themed floss picks, and your child is bound to find one they like!
For those worrying about the environmental impact of their oral health habits, we recommend Oral-B’s eco Floss Picks, which are made from plant-based plastic. We also love Listerine’s Ultraclean Access Flosser and Waterpiks. Waterpiks are great for those that don’t like to floss. While it is not a satisfactory replacement for flossing, it can be a great step in the right direction.
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