Monday, August 13, 2012

Four Corner Flossing

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles

Cavity free kids and keeping it simple.  Kids who enjoy going to the dentist and consistently belong to the "No Cavity Club." That's what we parents want, right?

 After age 3 about 90% of the cavities are in 4 locations.  Between the molars in the 4 corners of the mouth. If I could get parents to spend 10 seconds each evening flossing these 4 spots, it would nearly eliminate all the cavities I have to fix.  And I do mean 10 seconds!

 Here is how I did it. At story time each evening the kids brought a book and I brought some floss. Each in turn would lay on the couch with head in my lap, mouth open and looking up at me. It is an easy view of upper and lower teeth and I am not chasing a bobble-head.  Zig zag the floss between the molars so it does not snap as it goes past the tight spot.  Snap it back out.  Four corners and you are finished. After a couple nights practice you will discover this takes about 10 seconds, really!  A hug or tickle and a question about the book they brought might make it 30 seconds.

 Once parents have done this they are astonished how easy it is and elect to use their fingers rather than flimsy flossers (which I find are often ineffective due to their flexibility). Those spots are so easy to reach, you don't even have to do a big wind of floss on your fingers. Just grab it with your hands.

 Some parents do this when the kids are lying in bed being "tucked in." Others do it on the bathroom floor after the bath.  You can even use that towel to papoose them if they are the wiggly type.

Even though my kids took over their own tooth brushing at 6, I kept responsibility for flossing the important molar spots till they were 9.  Since that is where the cavities happen, I wanted to be sure their hand skills were adequate before I turned it over to them. Once cavities start, it is a lifetime maintenance nuisance. So far, 3 kids in their early 20s and no cavities.  They know flossing is the most important oral health measure.

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