Flossing is a key part of getting a healthy smile and keeping cavities and gum disease away. Yet, a recent study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) revealed that just over 50% of Americans floss daily, while nearly %19 don’t floss at all. Added to that, mouths come in all different shapes and sizes, and that extends to the composition and arrangement of teeth. All floss isn’t made equal, and some are created with specific smiles in mind.
Why Flossing is Vital
Not Flossing Can Lead to Gum Disease
A full flossing routine should include cleaning teeth below the gum line, where dental plaque can go unseen and unreached by toothbrushes. If left untreated, plaque buildup near the root of teeth can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing are often an early sign of gum disease. People who regularly brush and floss their teeth suffer from gum disease and tooth decay far less than those that do not.
Brushing Only Does So Much
Flossing removes plaque buildup in the places where toothbrushes can’t reach – between teeth. Brushing alone only covers about 1/3 of the total tooth surface area in your mouth, which leaves a lot of space for plaque – and cavities – to thrive. Flossing helps fix this by removing food and other debris in between your teeth that causes plaque accumulation.
Which Floss Works Best?
Dental tape is a great solution for kids with gaps in their teeth. Dental tape is wide, flat and designed to be gentle on exposed gums. The width of dental tape makes it easier for small hands to grasp it, and makes it more forgiving when children use too much pressure while flossing.
Teeth that have no visible gaps can be hard to floss because of the limited space. If your child has such teeth, then waxed floss might be the best flossing solution for tightly bunched teeth. Waxed floss is thinner than dental tape, and the waxy nature is designed to glide easier between tightly bunched teeth.
Braces and other orthodontic appliances can cause floss to shred, and also make it difficult to reach the nooks and crannies of teeth that require flossing. If your child has braces, then we suggest that they floss with a floss threader – a device designed to help those with braces floss. Floss threaders make it easier to reach the spaces in teeth impeded by braces and orthodontic appliances. Spongy floss is another great option for those that have oral appliances.
Ultra floss is a great flossing solution if your child has different sized spaces between their teeth. Ultra floss can stretch thin to clean between tightly bunched teeth, but is also wide enough to comfortably clean wider spaces. Ultra floss is a waxed dental floss that slides easily between teeth of all shapes and sizes and is marked by its ability to stretch into a thinner size.
Most Importantly, Floss Daily
Regardless of the floss you choose for your child, the most important thing is that they floss daily. You can help them at first to ensure that they are flossing properly and thoroughly cleaning between their teeth.
Does your child have bleeding gums from flossing? If so, they could be developing gingivitis. Bring them into our office for a comprehensive oral exam. During their visit, we will thoroughly evaluate the state of their oral health and provide a range of treatment solutions based upon our conclusions. Visit our office today to help your child earn a great, healthy smile that they will proudly enjoy for the rest of their life!
Starting Point Dental is the starting point for healthy smiles. Our mission is simply to be the best in all areas of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Overland Park and Kansas City. Contact our Kansas City pediatric dentist today.