It’s a celebration!
Join Heroes Dental this February in celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM). Hosted and promoted by the American Dental Association (ADA), this year’s message is, “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.”
What started in 1941 as a one-day affair is now a month-long national health event which brings together thousands of dental care professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to raise awareness on the importance of building good oral health habits at an early age to ensure a lifetime of bright and happy smiles.
Following this year’s theme, your McAllen pediatric dentists at Heroes Dental have put together some information on the importance of flossing and cleaning between your child’s teeth to keep them clean and healthy.
Why Children Need to Floss
Flossing is one of the most important steps when it comes to your child’s oral health routine. Failing to floss means dental plaque can build up under your child’s gums and between their teeth.
If that isn’t scary enough, according to Clinical Microbiology Reviews, there are over 1,000 different types of bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria can irritate the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Unfortunately, this condition generates more bacteria and can end up in a cycle of infected gums.
Flossing helps to remove this dental plaque and prevents major dental issues like:
- Cavities: Cavities are more likely to form between teeth. Dental plaque can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria which destroys the enamel between your teeth, forming a cavity.
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontal disease. According to the Anaerobe Journal, the bacteria from periodontal disease is capable of entering the bloodstream and traveling through the body into the heart and respiratory tract. Periodontal disease has also been linked to illnesses like diabetes and can increase to the risk of low birth weight in newborn babies.
Published research in the Journal of Dental Hygiene showed that flossing plus toothbrushing showed a statistically significant benefit compared to just toothbrushing in reducing gingivitis.
When Your Little Hero Should Start Flossing
Even if your child only has their baby teeth, as long as they are touching each other, then you should begin to floss them. Parents can help their little heroes by flossing their teeth for them until they have the skill to do so on their own.
Children should develop the ability to floss on their own around the age of 10.
Teaching Your Child How to Floss
Whether you are flossing your little hero’s teeth for them, are learning a better technique yourself, or are your teaching your child, the perfect flossing method is as follows:
- Take 18 inches of floss and loosely wrap it around each middle finger. Leave about an inch of floss between.
- Gently slide it between the teeth using your thumb and index fingers to hold the floss taut. Be careful not to snap it down on the gums.
- Curve the floss around each tooth and gently move it up and down the sides of each tooth, including under the gum line.
- Unroll a new section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
At Heroes Dental, we have the goal as the NCDHM; to make sure your child’s smile shines brightly for their entire life.