You may struggle to get your child to adequately brush his or her teeth, so you may have given up on being a stickler for flossing. But you may be surprised to learn that if you were forced to pick between the two habits, healthline.com says that you should pick flossing! Of course, this is a hypothetical situation. If your child doesn't know how to floss correctly, it's important to ask your pediatric dentist for help. He or she can show your child how to do it at the next cleaning appointment. Here are just a few reasons why flossing is so important.
It Prevents Interproximal Cavities
When people think of cavities, they may think of them happening only on the occlusal, or chewing surfaces, of teeth. However, your child can get cavities between teeth. Since a toothbrush's bristles are too large to clean between teeth, it's important for your child to floss so he or she can prevent interproximal cavities. Your child may be tempted to brush harder to reach in between teeth, but that still won't work. In fact, overbrushing can cause gum recession, which can cause tooth sensitivity and gum pockets.
It Prevents Gingivitis and Gum Disease
Gum disease isn't just an issue for older people—kids can get it too. If your child doesn't floss, he or she can develop gingivitis, which causes inflammation and swollen, bleeding gums. If gingivitis isn't taken care of, then it will be that much harder for your child to floss because they may complain that it's painful. Gingivitis that isn't checked can eventually lead to gum disease, like periodontitis. This condition can destroy bone structures in the mouth. Furthermore, gum disease has been linked to chronic conditions.
It Prevents Halitosis
Halitosis, or bad breath, isn't the worst dental issue, but it can cause your child to feel isolated. People may not want to be near your child if his or her breath has a foul odor, and it may never be brought up since it is a taboo subject. Your child may be incredibly sensitive about this issue, so ask the pediatric dentist to help you broach the subject. The dentist can help your child understand that flossing can help to eliminate food debris and bacteria that may be causing this problem.
It Prevents Staining
Along with brushing, flossing can help your child maintain a whiter, brighter smile. When your child eats, food particles left behind are consumed by bacteria, causing plaque. Plaque and saliva deposits on teeth can cause discoloration and staining. Flossing can help your child's smile look nicer. In fact, there are even whitening flosses that you can buy that contain things like calcium peroxide (a whitening agent) or microscopic abrasives that polish teeth.
Contact a pediatric dentist in your area today for more details about oral hygiene.