father and son floss

Is Flossing Really All That Important?

Teaching our children to floss can be remarkably difficult.  Many parents preach it, but don’t practice it themselves, or at least not as regularly as the dentist would like.  Truth be told, it’s hard to convince a child of the benefits of flossing.  Words like “gingivitis” and “root canal” mean nothing to our young ones, but with a few pointers, we can get them on board and in the right direction.  And with a great pediatric dentist, we can teach effective and successful habits for our children.  Before doing so, let’s check your knowledge about why flossing is important.

  • What’s all the fuss about?  Is it the end of the world if a child does not floss?  In the short-term, the effects may not seem terribly consequential, but in the long run, it can impact a child’s overall health.  Flossing reduces the risk of gum disease, which reduces the risk of heart disease and other health issues.  According to the American Pediatric Dental Association that gum disease has been linked to other tissues in the body like diabetes.  No one wants that—especially if it is preventable.  Start now, while your child is young so that they develop solid habits that are going to give them a good foundation for later down the road.  
  • Another benefit of flossing is removing plaque from your child’s teeth.  Flossing breaks up plaque and prevents build up over time.  Again, in the short-term, it may not seem like a big deal, but down the road, you are going to see tartar, cavities, and potential infections pop up from the bacteria left in your child’s mouth if they don’t floss.  This means more expense for you as a parent, but also more time in the dental chair for your child.  While the hygienist will clean your child’s teeth at his or her biannual appointment, twice a year is not enough.  Baby teeth fall out, but our permanent teeth do not get a second chance.  It is crucial that we take the utmost care of these.  Flossing only takes one to two minutes and gets in those spaces that a toothbrush cannot reach.
  • As your child gets older, they are going to want fresh breath.  The lack of flossing has been linked to bad breath. It sounds silly, but who does not want to be confident when talking to their friends, a girl/boy they like, or in front of a group?  The extra care given to one’s teeth (only one to two minutes) will make all of the difference.
  • Who doesn’t love a brighter smile?  When we drink beverages like soda or coffee, they can leave a stain behind.  Sticky foods or darker foods can also leave stains on our teeth.  Pediatric dentists everywhere will agree that flossing helps break up surface stains, giving you a whiter smile.  
  • Firm up those gums.  When you first start to floss your teeth, you’ll notice that your gums bleed and become a little bit inflamed.  This is a really common issue, but it will go away as you continue to floss.  Flossing on a daily basis will firm up those gums and make them healthier, protecting your teeth and the roots underneath.

If you need help getting your child started, choose a good pediatric dentist.  There are dentists up and down the Wasatch front.  Timp Dental is located in American Fork, UT, and is a great resource for pediatric dentistry.  Timp Pediatric Dentists make this process fun and teach kids of all ages how to properly care for their teeth.  Plus, pediatric dentists use fun alligator or dinosaur flossers that help make the experience more enticing than boring adult string floss. But dentists aside, parents are a big part of this process as well.  Develop a morning and night routine, so that your children know how to properly clean their teeth, and then, develop habits that will stay with them into adulthood.  Participate with them and make flossing and brushing a family event.  Eventually, it will become so routine that it will seem out of the ordinary if you skip a night.  You can do this.  It’s worth all of your effort because it’s protecting and preserving your child’s health in the long run.  Get flossing.


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