Brush or Floss First? What’s Best for Kids’ Teeth?
When it comes to oral hygiene for kids, many parents wonder if having their little one floss or brush first is better. The answer is more complex than you might think, as brushing and flossing play important roles in maintaining good oral health. However, with some guidance from dental professionals, you can decide what works best for your child.
At Little Kids Dentistry, we often hear parents ask about the order in which their children should brush and floss. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we can offer some general guidelines to help you decide what’s best for your child’s needs.
Why Brushing and Flossing Are Both Important
Brushing and flossing are both critical parts of maintaining good oral hygiene. Brushing removes plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of the teeth and gums, while flossing removes food particles and plaque from between the teeth and under the gumline.
Both brushing and flossing are necessary because they reach different mouth areas. Brushing can’t remove everything from between the teeth, which is where flossing occurs. On the other hand, flossing can’t clean the surfaces of the teeth, which is where brushing is essential.
So, while the order in which your child flosses and brushes might not seem like a big deal, it can affect the effectiveness of their oral hygiene routine.
The Benefits of Brushing First
Brushing helps loosen debris between the teeth, making removing it easier with floss. This can be particularly helpful if your child has crowded teeth or tight spaces between their teeth. Additionally, brushing first can help remove surface-level bacteria and debris, which means the floss can better reach the areas between the teeth where it’s most needed.
Brushing can also help ensure your child doesn’t miss any areas of their mouth when flossing. Since they’ll already have removed some debris from the surfaces of their teeth, they’ll be better able to see where they need to floss to get rid of anything left behind.
The Benefits of Flossing First
While brushing first might seem like the clear winner, flossing first has some benefits. For example, flossing first can help dislodge larger particles of food from between the teeth, making it easier to brush them away.
Flossing first can also help loosen plaque and bacteria from the gum line, making it easier for your child to brush these areas effectively. Additionally, flossing first can help prevent the spread of bacteria from one tooth to another, which can be particularly important for children who have cavities or other dental issues.
Making a Decision
Ultimately, deciding whether to have your child floss or brush first depends on their needs. If your child has crowded teeth or tight spaces between their teeth, brushing first might be the best option. If your child is more prone to cavities or has gum issues, flossing first might be the way to go. It’s also worth noting that there’s no hard and fast rule for your child to do one before the other. As long as they’re brushing and flossing regularly and effectively, the order in which they do it shouldn’t make a huge difference.
Encouraging Good Oral Hygiene Habits
In summary, the order in which your child flosses or brushes is less important than ensuring they practice good oral hygiene habits. Ensure your child brushes for at least two minutes twice a day and flosses at least once daily using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Remember to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings for your child as well. By instilling healthy oral hygiene practices at a young age, you are helping to set them up for a lifetime of strong and healthy teeth and gums.
If you have concerns about your child’s oral health or need more guidance on developing healthy oral hygiene habits, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with Little Kids Dentistry. Our friendly and experienced team can provide personalized recommendations for your child’s unique needs and preventative treatments and care to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Contact us today to schedule a visit!