If you have children, you know that brushing and flossing their teeth is probably not their most favorite thing to do! Yet it’s essential that toddlers, children and teens keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Now is the perfect time to review your child’s oral health routine, because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month as sponsored by the American Dental Association. This year’s theme is
“Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.”
Cleaning in between the teeth can be a problem for children. Everyone, children and adults, should floss at least once a day – even around baby teeth. Food and drink create sticky bacteria, known as plaque, on the teeth. This plaque makes damaging acid which can cause cavities and irritate the gums.
Think about the shape of a tooth: It has five surfaces, but brushing can only reach three of them. To clean the remaining two surfaces, you need something that can access between the teeth. Dental floss or other types of flossing products are perfect to clean that hidden space.
How To Encourage Your Children To Floss Their Teeth
- Begin showing your child how to floss when her teeth begin to fit closely next to each other, around age 2-6.
- Make a brushing and flossing chart to keep in the bathroom. Use markers or stickers to track each time your child does a good job at oral care. Offer a reward for successfully flossing a number of days in a row.
- Ask your dentist to explain the importance of flossing to your child.
- Flossing time can be a fun time if you add a story, a song or a game to keep your child entertained.
- Let your child choose dental care supplies. He will look forward to using the toothbrush with a favorite character on it or toothpaste in a favorite flavor.
- Experiment with different types of floss to find one that works for your child. Pre-threaded flossers can make the job easier and more fun.
- Be a good role model. Floss along with your child to demonstrate correct technique and modeling behavior.
Remember – by building good tooth cleaning habits in your young child, you will be giving her the best start for lifelong oral health!
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.