Every February, the American Dental Association sponsors “National Children’s Dental Health Month”. It brings together dedicated dental professionals, healthcare providers, parents and caregivers to encourage healthy habits in their children. In 2019, the slogan is, “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile!”
Building strong oral health habits in our children is an important part of their development. Kids who brush and floss when they are young will carry those daily habits into adulthood. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. In support of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to reiterate why cleaning in between your teeth is so very important.
Why Kids Should Floss
Brushing alone cannot adequately clean between teeth or under the gums. The combination of brushing and flossing is your little surfer’s best chance for good oral health. It’s even recommended that you floss BEFORE you brush, thereby allowing fluoridated toothpaste to clean more parts of your teeth and mouth.
Brushing your teeth cleans the tops and sides of your teeth, but cannot remove all the food particles and bacteria that are in between your teeth. Floss is an “interdental cleaner”, designed to dislodge sticky food and tartar that builds up. When you floss and remove that sticky residue, your toothpaste will be more effective.
Flossing also protects your gums from gingivitis, which occurs when tartar builds up along the gumline. Gingivitis is the first sign of gum disease, marked by swollen, red gums that can be inflamed and painful. Flossing between teeth and below the gumline will help remove bacteria, food and plaque so your gums can remain healthy.
A clean and healthy mouth, especially in between your teeth, is critical to your little surfers’ overall health. Read our blog on how bacteria affects your mouth, teeth and your overall health to learn more.
Helping Kids Floss the Right Way
Parents often ask at what age their kids should begin flossing. Flossing should become part of their daily habit as soon as their teeth begin to touch. Make it part of their nightly bedtime routine as soon as possible so they make it a lifelong habit.
Flossing can be challenging for little hands, as they often do not yet have the dexterity needed to properly floss. Small handheld dental floss picks are great options for little hands and independent kiddos who want to do everything on their own. Parents can help their little surfers floss their teeth, talking to them about the proper technique as they do it.
Use floss or dental picks to curve around each tooth, rubbing up and down to scrape off plaque and clear away stuck food particles. Be gentle and avoid a sawing motion as that can hurt the gums.
Professional Help from Smile Surfers
Our dedicated team of dental professionals will ensure you and your little surfer have the right tools and education to take care of your teeth. Any questions or concerns on oral care can be directed to your certified pediatric dentist during your appointment. Or you can reach out to us via Facebook to ask a question today!