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Do Kids Really Need to Floss? 

added on: May 18, 2021
Growing Great Grins

It’s not uncommon for patients to ask your pediatric dentist in The Woodlands; “My child brushed his teeth twice a day every day, so how can flossing actually make that big of a difference?” The truth is, flossing is a crucial part of any home oral hygiene routine and can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. There’s a joke among dentists that you really don’t have to floss, but you do have to floss the teeth that you want to keep.

Flossing Gets What Brushing Can’t

First and foremost, flossing every day is important because brushing alone can’t reach every side of each and every tooth. This means that when your little one passes on the floss, he’s not thoroughly cleaning his teeth. Actually, if flossing is skipped, about 35% of each tooth’s surface is uncleaned. That means a lot of plaque and bacteria are left lingering around and can cause some serious damage. 

What Happens If Kids Don’t Floss? 

The long story short is that if kids don’t floss, it can result in some unwanted side effects that will often require treatment from your Woodlands pediatric dentist. Some ways not flossing can hurt your child’s oral health include: 

  • Plaque hardens into tartar, requiring professional cleaning to remove
  • Cavities are more likely to form
  • Tooth pain can affect speech development
  • If baby teeth fall out too early it can cause issues with permanent teeth eruption 

We Can Tell 

Flossing the night before you visit your pediatric dentist in The Woodlands isn’t enough to remove any buildup between teeth and up under the gums. In fact, if your little one isn’t flossing his gums will probably bleed during his cleaning. Bleeding gums is the number one indicator of not flossing, and it can also mean there are more serious problems lurking below the gum line. For this reason, we always encourage our patients to be honest about their habits. This helps us provide the best preventive dentistry and cater care to the individual.  

When Should Kids Start Flossing?

Once your child has at least two teeth that touch it’s important to start flossing. This typically occurs between the ages of two and six but can differ from child to child. When your child first starts flossing, he will need help to do it correctly. However, usually by age 10 he should be able to take over the job on his own. 

Additionally, finding the best flossing product for kids can mean some trial and error, but talking with your Woodlands pediatric dentist can help. Flossing products can include: 

  • Waxed or Unwaxed String Floss
  • Floss Picks
  • Dental Tape
  • Water Flosser

The best floss for your kid is the floss he will use, so try out a few different kinds of floss to find what’s right for his needs. 

One of the best ways for your child to have great dental checkups is to brush and floss his teeth every day. Not to mention, these habits work wonders in protecting your teeth, gums, and overall oral health for life.