Though dentists advise people to floss every day, less than 70% of adults in the United States floss even once per week! How can children build strong dental habits, if their parents don’t?
Dentists provide pediatric cleanings and x-rays and can guide your child in taking better care of their teeth and gums. They stress the importance of flossing, and you should further build upon their teachings by instilling these habits at home. The end result is a healthy smile for your happy child.
So to help kids (and their parents) learn how to best care for their teeth, we’re focusing on a pivotal, but often skipped over, piece of your dental arsenal – floss. Let’s discuss the importance of flossing and how to get your kids to include flossing into their daily dental routine.
Flossing Prevents Cavities and Decay
About 52% of kids will have a cavity by the time they turn 8. Almost 40% will experience a cavity while still a toddler! As soon as a child’s teeth start to come in, building a flossing habit is a good idea to prevent cavities and decay.
Flossing catches what brushes sometimes can’t, meaning that if your child skips flossing for a night, they’re leaving food, sugar, and other debris still in their mouths – between teeth and along gumlines. This food will get compacted and will become difficult to remove when children fail to floss daily, making routine dental appointments even more important.
Teaching your child to floss will prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar in their mouths, which produces bacteria that can break down the enamel, leading to cavities and other dental issues.
Gum Health Is Linked To Flossing As Well
Flossing is also important for preventing gum disease. In fact, building this habit at a young age, could help protect their hearts as gum disease has been linked to heart issues in adults.
Doctors theorize that gum disease bacteria can enter the blood vessels in the mouth, leading to clotting, stroke, and heart disease. The link between smoking and heart disease furthers this theory.
Since flossing happens to be one of the best ways to prevent gum disease, teaching your child to floss every day early in life can greatly diminish their chance of getting gum disease that can lead to serious heart problems.
This Mindfulness Builds Quality Dental Habits
The importance of flossing is also a mental exercise. Being mindful to floss each day develops great habits. Routine is one of the first things that you teach your child so that they can take care of themselves.
Make brushing and flossing a daily ritual, and make it a fun time that they won’t want to forget. Include songs and music! The songs could even include instructions for the proper way to brush and floss. Here’s one we recommend for new “flossers”:
- Cocomelon Yes Yes Brush Your Teeth: Of course, Cocomelon has a catchy tune about brushing your teeth! And if you have a toddler, this song is a must!
- Finish up your flossing fun time with the floss dance! Parents, did you know that was a “thing?” It is, and it’s a great way to show the kids how to floss their teeth! Have them floss and follow that up with the dance and everyone will be having a blast cleaning their teeth in no time!
Creating these habits and mental connections will teach your child to prioritize their dental health. It’ll teach your child to take care of their first smile well before their permanent teeth grow in.
Floss Toughens Up Your Gums
Most peoples’ gums bleed when they floss if they floss infrequently. Like any other part of your body, your gums will toughen up when exposed to constant pressure or resistance.
It’s possible for gums to bleed during the first few flossing sessions. Don’t let that scare off your children! Their gums will quickly get used to it so that they won’t bleed on subsequent flossings.
Keep your home stocked with plenty of floss, and make sure to collect a goodie bag after each dental appointment. The dentist will provide a pack of kid’s floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush after every visit.
Flossing Supports a Habit of Brushing
When your child flosses every day, remembering to brush becomes even easier. These habits support each other so that your child will have a one-two punch of dental care that leads to a healthy and happy smile.
Brushing alone won’t get into the far reaches of your mouth the way that floss will. This doubles down on their dental health habits and can help keep their teeth plaque and tartar-free.
Their Self Confidence Will Grow
Your smile dictates a lot about your self-image. When you love the way that your smile looks in the mirror, you become a better communicator and love the way that you look. As parents, we can help our children build more self-confidence by ensuring their smiles are healthy, and flossing is key to a healthy smile. Food that gets compacted and wedged between the gums will slowly start to decay, just like trash that is left out for a while, stinking in the process. By preventing this bacterial growth, kids can be school-ready with great breath and pearly whites.
Find the Best Pediatric Dentistry in Simpsonville, SC
Starting a strong dental routine for a child should also include routine visits to a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are skilled in understanding how childrens’ teeth and bone structure will grow over time, making them more experienced in dealing with childhood dental problems. They’re also more experienced in working with children who may experience anxiety, and work hard to build a fun, inviting environment for children. It’s important to schedule your first dental visit once your child has teeth coming in, typically before or around their second birthday. Our pediatric dental office in Simpsonville, SC even offers free cleanings for first-time visits of children under the age of 2. For those in the greater Greenville area who are wanting to schedule an initial visit, contact us on our website, or give us a call at (864) 297-5585.