Practical Guidelines to Flossing for Kids…

When baby teeth first come into the mouth, there are usually gaps and spaces in between all the teeth.  The presence of these gaps allow easy cleansing with a simple small-headed toothbrush.  As babies age, these gaps tend to become smaller and smaller to a point where teeth eventually touch each other.  When the contacts between teeth become tight together, plaque and food can become trapped in these “interproximal” areas.  When these trapped particles are exposed to sugars and carbohydrates, cavities develop as a result in between the teeth.  Unfortunately, interproximal cavities can often grow for years without being detected visually.  It is often when the child finally gets xrays that these cavities are discovered.  By then they could be large enough to warrant baby crowns instead of just simple fillings.

Flossing is an easy and effective method for removing trapped particles in tight spaces in between the teeth.  Flossing should start as soon as teeth become tight together.  Being a mother myself, I understand that oral hygiene at home may not be the most enjoyable bonding moment of the day between a parent and a child.  I always recommend brushing right after dinner/snack/dessert instead of right before bedtime when kids are already tired and impatient.

I usually advise parents to start with flossing between the back molars which are often the tightest and thus most prone to interproximal cavities.  There are eight baby molars total with two molars sitting in each quadrant of the mouth.  This means that simply by flossing these four tight spots, the most prevalent type of cavity can be prevented.  After flossing in between the molars, if your child is still up for it continue to floss the rest of the teeth.  And if your child won’t stand for more then at least you have already flossed the most important areas.

If your child happens to have very tight spaces everywhere in the mouth, then flossing becomes essential for all areas and not just the back molars.  Very tight baby teeth is also associated with crowded adult teeth at a later age and the need for orthdontic work.  Unfortunately, dental anatomy is dictated by genetics and children with tighter teeth just require a little more maintainence.

We’ve been given out Crayola Flossers in the office and everyone loves them.  They’re very easy to use and come in multiple fun colors.  If you want to save a few bucks the adult version of the same thing will do the job just as well.

Crayola Flossers

These Are Fine As Well

 

If you have questions about flossing for children feel free to contact me at Red Rock Kids Dental (702)242-2436.