Healthcare Buzz: Oral healthcare and your child — back to basics

FLOSSING is an important part of any oral care routine, and experts advise you do it at least once a day. However, many parents wonder when should their children should start flossing their teeth? The answer is much younger than you’d likely guess. The recommendation is that you should start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as two teeth are touching or the teeth are close enough for food particles to be stuck between them.


Even though children will lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth will grow in later, it is important to start good oral care early on for many reasons, such as the following:

• Baby teeth can develop cavities and other tooth decay that could need attention from a dentist.
• Good oral routines started early can last a lifetime.
• Strong teeth are a key component in proper chewing.
• Young teeth are important in learning to speak and pronounce words correctly.
• How teeth look can affect a child’s self-esteem.


The American Dental Association recommends having your child’s first dental check-up by the time the child is one year old. At that time, the dentist can give you pointers on flossing your child’s teeth the correct way. The dentist can help you navigate your child’s small mouth using dental floss rolled on your fingers or dental floss picks.

As your child gets older, you, your child, and your child’s dentist can work on teaching your child the proper technique for flossing his or her teeth. That way, your child can learn the technique and the responsibility of an oral care routine at the same time.

This column is sponsored by Central Florida Health Care, Inc.


column by DR. KAREN McKENZIE

BIO: Dr. Karen McKenzie is the dental director of Central Florida Health Care, Inc. (CFHC), serving patients at all their locations in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. To make an appointment with CFHC medical providers, please call (866) 234-8534 or visit

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