A Craze Hitting America’s Youth!
How excited were we when we heard that “Flossing” is the new craze hitting America’s kids? I remember the day my hygienist ran into my office laughing and telling me how a five-year-old told “Yeah, I floss! I love flossing!” and then to her surprise jumped out of the chair and began swinging his hips and arms to opposite sides at a crazy speed! Well, I thought, now we have something to work with.
Look, we all know that we HAVE TO FLOSS. Our kids HAVE TO FLOSS. Honestly, even our dogs HAVE TO BE FLOSSED. Unfortunately for us pediatric dental specialists, flossing in the sense of the word where a string is passed in between your teeth to remove food and stimulate gingiva, hasn’t hit SNL or the Disney Channel. To add insult to injury, parents are always asking us in a hush hush tone, “Do we reeeeeealy need to floss kids’ teeth?”
Here are some answers to the “flossing” questions we heard this week:
Do we reeeeeealy need to floss kids’ teeth?
YES! Floss is used to reach areas between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing removes excess food particles (think sticky raisins, granola, and even, chicken!) and plaque from your child’s teeth and helps to prevent redness and soreness of the gums
Should I floss by child’s teeth before or after brushing?
This is a controversial one. In our office, we prefer you floss before brushing. If you floss first, then you can brush away any plaque particles or food debris that has been removed and toothpaste is more effective in between clean spaces. Plus, your child won’t be as annoyed as they are after brushing.
Can my child floss their own teeth? It’s fun for her.
Your child can start flossing when she is able to tie her own shoe in a way where it won’t untie. Fair? You can’t imagine how much ineffective flossing we see where food is pushed even further down into the gum instead of being removed. We also see flossing trauma by kids flossing too hard.
What kind of floss should I use?
We recommend whatever floss your child will tolerate. Some parents love basic floss, some swear by floss sticks, others prefer CocoFloss, or wax floss. Our take is as long as you’re flossing your child’s teeth, you can use whatever you find the easiest.
How do I floss? Seriously HOW?
First, select the floss (see above). Once you have the floss wrapped around your fingers, make sure you hold it tight (PS: if you are letting your child floss make sure the floss isn’t so tight around their fingers that the fingers turn blue. Yes, this happens). Then glide the floss between the teeth, starting the back teeth, with a gentle (key word: gentle. We see floss trauma all the time, usually when a parent is trying to floss well right before the child’s appointment) back and forth rubbing motion. As the floss gets closer to the gum line, curve the floss into a C shape slide it in the area below the gum. Ta da! Or you can always use a floss stick.
Now if you will excuse us, we have to go master our “floss dance” skills before it gets as outdated as “dabbing” and all of our hard work practicing in front of the office mirrors for hours goes to waste.
Hugs and High Fives,
Team Pediatric Dental Center (PDC)