You might not know it, but National Flossing Day is coming up, and it is no coincidence that it falls the day after Thanksgiving. Here at Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics, we get countless questions from parents about their children’s flossing habits. At what age should my child start flossing? Are picks okay? What brand of floss should they use? Is there a proper technique? What are water picks, and are they alright to use? We want to take a moment and answer some commonly asked flossing questions:
When should my child start flossing?
Your child should begin flossing when their teeth start touching. Usually, when a child’s teeth are coming in, they have gaps between them until their molars come in and push everything together. This usually happens around age 4 or 5, but every child is different, and you should not worry if your child’s teeth begin touching earlier or later.
How often should my child floss?
The American Dental Association recommends that everyone flosses once a day. The best time to do this is in the evening before bed. It is crucial to floss in the evening because you want to remove all of the sugars, starches, and other sticky foods from your teeth before falling asleep. These things break down the enamel on your teeth and cause cavities, especially when given a full night of sleep to work through.
What brand of floss should I buy?
The short answer is this: It does not matter what brand of floss you buy, as long as you are flossing! Both picks and string floss are effective, and it is more about what you feel comfortable using. We do want to warn against water picks, as they are significantly less effective than other methods. If you have tight contacts or teeth that are very close together and difficult to get the floss in between, try Glide floss from Oral-B. It is designed to fit into the smallest gaps.
What is the proper flossing technique?
While it is beneficial to be flossing at all, using the proper technique will ensure the most productive results. If you are using string floss, wrap the string around your middle fingers, and use your index fingers to push the floss in between your teeth. Rather than merely getting between your teeth, you will want to push the string up against the sides of each tooth, scraping any food or gunk that may be stuck to your teeth.
Flossing is often the portion of oral hygiene that is forgotten or ignored, but it is crucial to keeping your smile healthy. Remember to floss this evening!