The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between teeth once a day. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing may also help prevent gum disease and cavities.
Parents should begin flossing or cleaning between their children's teeth when at least two teeth begin to touch. This can occur before or after brushing as is also true for adults. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily floss your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it. Because cleaning between teeth demands more dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to do a thorough job on their own until age 10 or 11.
The next set of flossing instructions apply to teens and adults too.
- To properly floss, use about 18 inches of floss wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the opposite middle finger.
- Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers and gently insert it between the teeth.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape against the side of the tooth.
- Rub the floss gently up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth. Don’t jerk or snap the floss.
- Floss all teeth. Don’t forget to floss behind the back teeth.
Flossing properly can still be a difficult task. Our dentists suggest using a product that is easier to use, thus having a better success rate. One example are Opalpix, and are pictured in this blog.
Remember always to also lead by example. Establishing healthy habits early on can lead to a lifetime of good dental care practices and good health.