According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, "childhood tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness in America." However, by implementing proper brushing and flossing into your child’s daily routine, as well as regular checkups you can help your child avoid long term tooth decay. The most overlooked part of preventing childhood tooth decay is flossing. Flossing your child's teeth makes for a healthy routine, but when should you start the habit of flossing baby teeth?
When to Start Flossing Baby Teeth?
The time to start flossing is as soon as the baby teeth emerge and begin to touch each other. The tight spaces between teeth are hard to reach, and a convenient spot for plaque to develop and grow. When you begin to floss for your child, have them sit or lay down. It will be easier to floss and discomfort will be more avoidable if they aren't moving.
When your child turns five or six years old, they may be able to floss for themselves under your supervision. At around age ten, they'll should start flossing for themselves with some encouragement from you.
Is Flossing My Child's Teeth Important?
The answer you're probably expecting to hear is "Yes." You would be correct.
Infrequent flossing is a major factor of childhood tooth decay. Unfortunately, It's not uncommon to see children who have already developed molar decay by age four or five. Maintaining good health of the baby teeth may not seem as critical in comparison to permanent teeth, but molars will stay with a child until ages 10–12. Taking good care of these teeth can prevent toothaches and cavities that might even affect their set of adult teeth. Additionally, it’s important to develop good habits in oral care at a young age so that when permanent teeth arrive, proper dental care is already part of your child’s daily routine.
Flossing for your child can seem like an extra piece of work tacked on to the day, but regular flossing shows a child how important it is to make it a daily priority. Sporadic flossing (once a month, or the day before a dentist appointment) makes flossing seem like an unimportant and rare part of cleaning your teeth. Set a good example for your children by brushing and flossing your own teeth on a daily basis.
Feel free to contact us for further advice on care of baby teeth.
Another preventative dental service is through regular cleanings and examinations. Request a dental appointment online or give us a call to schedule a cleaning, or ask any questions about best practices for dental care.