CSP Spotlight on National Children's Dental Health Month - The Importance of Proper Flossing

Once any two of your child's teeth touch each other, it is time to start flossing.  Flossing helps prevent cavities by removing plaque and food particles caught between teeth.  It should be an important part of your child's dental routine.

You should floss at least once a day, the best time being right before you go to bed to remove any food and plaque from between the teeth and along the gumline. Flossing should be done with waxed floss, as it will not shred between the teeth.

Your child should be able to floss his or her own teeth by the time he or she is 9 years old.  To floss younger children's teeth, place them in your lap facing you.  The technique is the same, no matter who is doing it.  To floss your child's teeth:

  1. Take about 18 inches of dental floss and wrap one end around each of your middle fingers.
  2. Using your thumbs and index fingers as guides, gently slide the floss between two teeth, using a saw-like motion.
  3. Once at the gum line, pull both ends of the floss in the same direction to form a C shape against one tooth. Pull the floss tightly and move it up and down against one tooth.
  4. Pull the floss against the other tooth and repeat the motion.
  5. Repeat this for all of the teeth. Be sure to floss both sides of the teeth farthest back in the mouth.

When you do not floss, you are at risk for two major dental issues in your mouth: Gingivitis and cavities between your teeth. Without flossing, you are not able to remove dental plaque buildup. According to Clinical Microbiology Reviews, there are over 1,000 bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria can irritate the gum tissue, causing it to become red and inflamed and bleed easily, which breeds more bacteria and causes gingivitis to occur.

Another risk of not flossing is that cavities are more likely to form between your teeth. The same dental plaque that causes gingivitis can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria that will destroy the enamel between your teeth, consequently forming a cavity. So please, make sure you and your children are flossing.

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