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Does My Child Really Need to Floss?

flossing childrenSan Diego, CA – It’s a common question everyone has probably asked at some point, at least to themselves. If I brush my teeth regularly, do I really need to floss? The simple answer is yes, flossing is important to ensuring good oral health.

“Flossing should be a part of everyone’s oral routine each day,” says Dr. Santiago Surillo, who is a pediatric dentist and orthodontist in the San Diego area. “It allows us to access the places our toothbrushes can’t get to. You may be the best toothbrusher in the world, but the bristles of your brush can’t reach between teeth, but floss can.”

Flossing can also help remove plaque before it can damage our teeth, leading to decay or gum disease.

For children, flossing should be a part of their daily oral care routine starting at the age of two. Parents should help children floss until they can adequately do it on their own. Children may find floss picks are easier for them to use. If your child starts flossing regularly at an early age, chances are good the habit will stick with them.

Children and teens who are in orthodontic treatment should also be sure to floss regularly. Braces can create a lot of nooks and crannies for food debris to get stuck, so flossing should be an essential piece of braces care.

So, what is the best way to floss?

“Start by taking about 18 inches of floss, and wind it around your fingers, leaving enough between your fingers to get around your teeth,” says Dr. Surillo. “Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, guide the floss between your teeth. Using a C shape, gently rub your teeth to remove plaque and debris at the gumline and between teeth. Between each tooth, be sure to gather a new section of the floss to ensure your mouth gets as clean as possible.

Repeat this process throughout the mouth, ensuring you don’t skip any section, including the back of the last teeth in your mouth.

If you wear braces, you may find that a floss threader is a helpful tool for you. Floss threaders are designed to help you thread floss through the wires of your braces, ensuring your smile stays as healthy as possible.

Dr. Surillo and his team are always available to provide tips and help on the best ways to care for your smile. If you have any questions, call Dr. Surillo at 619-461-6166.

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