Today Dr. Jason is here to teach you how to Floss like a Boss.
Q: When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?
A: It depends on when and where you see your child's first teeth touch. Your child’s first teeth to touch may be their baby molars or may be their first two front teeth. Use your judgement, but as with brushing, it is important to start them young so they develop a flossing habit.
Q: When I try to floss my child’s teeth, they say it hurts. How do I avoid that?
A: When floss is pushed in-between the teeth and finally gets past the contact, it can snap hard on the gums. This can be painful and cause a negative association with flossing. A more gentle approach is to tease the floss back and forth (in a sawing motion) until it gets below the contact. At this point the floss can be used to clean without much pain.
Q: How often should you brush and floss?
A: When I make my recommendation on flossing it depends on my patient’s answer. Creating a habit is key!
IF they say they are not flossing, I will ask them to floss at least 1-2x/week and then return in six months to see if there is any improvement.
IF they say they are flossing 1-2x/week, I will commend them for doing this because they are actually doing better than the general population! Then I will encourage them to try and floss every other day.
IF they say they are flossing every other day, I am impressed and say they’re almost there, let's aim to floss every day.
IF they are flossing every day? AWESOME! And tell them to keep doing what they are doing! That is the standard.
Q: Why don't you just recommend everyone to floss every day?
A: I am a parent and I look at this similar to how kids do in school. Heaven forbid my child was failing a class. I would feel it’s unfair for me to say, “YOU NEED TO GET AN A+.” That may feel so far out of reach for my child that it feels impossible. Instead my encouragement may be, “I need you to get at least a C and pass your class.” Once that C is achieved, then we can talk about achieving a B or an A. Likewise, if a child is not flossing, It makes sense to first start out with flossing at least 1-2x/week vs every day.
Q: What is the most effective way to floss teeth?
A: When flossing, you should be using the string part to scrub back and forth (in and out) as you are going up and down on both sides of the teeth. Similar to how you would see someone shine their shoes. This particular method is called the Bass Method of flossing, which looks like this: