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Many parents ask us what is the best way to floss kid’s teeth. The rule of thumb is: Use anything you want as long as it gets physical string between your teeth to scrape off the plaque!
That being said, there are some important advantages and disadvantages to consider when making a decision to use traditional flossing or floss sticks.
There are three choices to floss kid’s teeth:
Flossing by hand involves wrapping the floss around your fingers and then placing the floss between your teeth to physically clear plaque bacteria away.
This is a traditional way to floss which allows you to use a clean section of floss per tooth space. You also have the ability to move the floss around to get hard to reach places. It’s also less expensive and more efficient than floss sticks.
The downside is that traditional flossing is harder for children to learn because it requires more hand skills than any type of floss. Another disadvantage is that when parents are trying to floss their children’s teeth, both hands are used to floss and it is more difficult to stabilize their children or use a hand to keep their mouths open.
Floss sticks are individual pieces of curved plastic with pre threaded dental floss.
There are many advantages to using floss sticks, particularly as a parent trying to floss your child’s teeth. Using a floss stick allows you all the ability to floss in just one hand. The other hand can be used to stabilize your child or keep their mouth open. Floss sticks can come in fun shapes and sizes – this can be used to motivate your child to floss.
Learning how to floss will be easier for your children and will help to reinforce a routine if they can achieve this task easier. This is especially important for children under age 8.
The main disadvantage is that your children may not learn how to floss by hand. For this reason, after the age of 8 or when your child can tie their shoes, we ask our parents to incorporate the traditional way to floss a few nights a week. Another disadvantage to using floss picks is that they are more expensive than a roll of floss.
Water Picks are devices that spray a pressurized stream of water in between the teeth. The intention for water picks is to remove large food particles from permanent tooth crowns and bridges or if there are gaps under adult teeth. The only time water picks can help children, is when food particles need to be removed from braces. When used in this manner, the water pick removes food from harder to reach places like around brackets or under wires.
Water picks unfortunately do not effectively clean well in between the teeth where the teeth are touching. This is why you need physical string to remove the plaque bacteria away at the point of contact.
At Junior Smiles Children’s Dentistry® we educate our families on flossing and more at each visit. For a cleaning and exam please contact us at 303-445-3313. We hope to see you soon!