Are you lying to your dentist about flossing? You’re not the only one. About 20% of American adults never floss.

In fact, 32% of adults said they hadn’t flossed in the past week. 

As a parent, it’s important to make sure your child understands the importance of flossing. Otherwise, they could put their oral and future health at risk. You might need to schedule an appointment with your kids’ dentist in Georgetown sooner than expected.

Why is flossing so important, exactly? Read on to find out! 

Remove Plaque

Plaque is the colorless, sticky substance that clings to the surface of your teeth. It can also hide between teeth or along the gum line. Since it’s difficult to see, many people don’t realize they have plaque lingering.

When plaque is left unattended for too long, it can lead to disastrous complications.

Plaque can begin to form when the starchy and sugary foods your child eats mix with bacteria in their mouths. When your child neglects to brush and floss, the bacteria release acids designed to break down the carbohydrates.

Neglecting to brush and floss allows the acids, bacteria, and carbohydrates to mingle together, leading to plaque formation. 

The bacteria will continue to spread, leading to plaque on and between your child’s teeth. The bacteria can also release acids designed to attack tooth enamel. Enamel protects your child’s teeth from future decay.

If your child doesn’t brush and floss, they won’t remove the plaque, allowing it to harden into tartar. Tartar can collect along the gum line, increasing your child’s risk of gum disease.

Plaque can also increase your child’s risk of cavities if they’re not flossing food particles away.

Before that can happen, help your child recognize the importance of brushing and flossing. Flossing will ensure they find any food particles lingering between their teeth. Clearing those food particles away could help them avoid an emergency trip to their Georgetown dentist. 

Reduced Cavity Risk

About 13.2% of children between the ages of 5 and 19 have untreated cavities.  

A cavity, or tooth decay, is a hole that develops on a tooth. The cavity can appear small at first before getting bigger over time. If your child doesn’t receive treatment, their cavity can cause pain and discomfort. 

Other symptoms of a cavity include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Black or white staining on the teeth
  • A visible hole in a tooth

Cavities occur when too much plaque begins to cling to your child’s teeth. That’s why flossing is important! Otherwise, your child’s enamel will begin to erode away.

As their enamel becomes weaker, their risk of decay will increase.

Your child will need professional treatment to get rid of tooth decay. If it’s caught in the early stages, their Georgetown dentist might recommend a fluoride treatment. Fluoride could help restore the tooth enamel to protect against further decay.

Otherwise, the dentist will need to use a drill to remove the decayed material before filling the tooth with composite resin. For more severe cases, the dentist will need to place a crown over the tooth instead. 

Without treatment, your child could experience ongoing tooth decay. The risk of a tooth abscess can increase as well. A tooth abscess could increase the chances of an infection entering your child’s bloodstream.

Instead, help your child recognize why flossing is essential to their health. Flossing at least once a day will help your child remove lingering food particles from between their teeth. They’ll lower their chances of a cavity as a result. 

Prevent Gum Disease

Flossing can help your child avoid gum disease, too. 

Gum disease can develop if plaque forms along the gum line. The initial stage, gingivitis, is an inflammation of the gums caused by a bacterial infection. 

Your child’s gums attach to their teeth at a point below the gum line. Food and plaque can get trapped in the sulcus, causing an infection to form. A gum infection can also develop if plaque and tartar form below the gum line. 

When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis; an advanced stage of gum disease. Symptoms can include:

  • A foul taste that doesn’t go away after brushing
  • Inflammatory responses throughout the body
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Pain when chewing

When left untreated, periodontitis could cause your child’s teeth to fall out, too.

Don’t neglect to schedule regular appointments with your child’s dentist. Catching gum disease early can help them avoid complications and painful symptoms. In the meantime, make sure your child is flossing every night.

Removing food and bacteria from between their teeth can keep plaque from forming before your child develops gum disease. 

Minimize Bad Breath

Everyone gets a little bad breath at some point in their lives. Also known as halitosis, bad breath can sometimes indicate an underlying health problem.

Remember, if your child’s bad breath doesn’t go away after they brush, there’s a chance they have gum disease. 

One of the most common causes of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. Bacteria and decaying food in your child’s mouth can cause an odor. Brushing and flossing every day will ensure your child removes the food before it decays. 

Otherwise, plaque will form, which can also cause bad breath. 

Protect Your Heart

Not many people realize that flossing can also benefit their heart health. 

In one study, participants who maintained proper oral hygiene had a decreased risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation. There is a connection between your oral health and heart health.

Your child can start protecting their heart now by flossing every day before bed. 

Discuss the Importance of Flossing With Your Georgetown, KY Dentist Today

Help your child understand the importance of flossing this year. Adding flossing to their routine can help them clear away food particles, bacteria, and plaque. Keeping their teeth and gums clean can help them avoid complications down the road. 

Consider visiting their Georgetown, KY dentist. The dentist can help your child recognize why flossing is essential to their oral and overall health. 

Schedule your child’s next appointment today.