When Should Kids Start Getting Their Teeth Cleaned by a Dentist?

When Should Kids Start Getting Their Teeth Cleaned by a Dentist?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all children see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth erupting. Infants and children should continue to see a dentist for an oral exam and dental cleaning every six months. Why is early dental care necessary? Read on for the benefits of regular dental cleanings for kids.

Benefits of Early Dental Care for Kids

The goals of early dental care for kids are to diagnose problems early, prevent minor issues from blossoming into more significant problems, and set the stage for lifelong oral health.  As such, beginning with your child’s earliest dental visit, your dentist will be focused on:

Disease and Decay Prevention

Regular dental cleanings for kids help to prevent problems such as cavities and gum disease. Although your child may have learned excellent brushing and flossing habits, some of the plaque and tartar that accumulates on teeth cannot be removed through routine oral care at home. In other words, kids need regular dental cleanings for the same reason adults need regular dental cleanings. Your child’s dentist or hygienist will remove plaque and tartar, which cause both cavities and gum disease, during each regular cleaning appointment. 

Strengthening Teeth

Regular dental cleanings for kids include an examination by the dentist. During this examination, your dentist will assess the strength of your child’s teeth by looking for signs of early decay or demineralization, such as white spots on the teeth. These are both signs of insufficient fluoride. Fortunately, fluoride treatments are fast, painless, and effective at helping to strengthen young teeth. 

Prevent Cavities

The grooves on the surface of teeth, particularly the molars, are known to accumulate cavity-causing bacteria. For children who have deep crevices in their teeth, dental sealants can serve as a safeguard. Dental sealants are made of a safe resin material that fills the grooves and crevices, helping to prevent bacteria buildup.

Diagnose Invisible Problems

Reduced-radiation digital x-rays as part of routine dental cleaning and exam appointments are invaluable in detecting problems beneath the mouth's soft tissues. Potential problems seen in digital x-ray images include extra teeth, tumors, bone defects, and decay. Your dentist will determine how often x-rays are needed. 

Establishing Excellent Oral Hygiene

During your child’s dental exam and cleaning, your dentist will spend time educating your child on the importance of practicing excellent oral hygiene. They may help your young child to learn how to floss correctly. They may show them digital x-ray images to point out signs of decay and to remind children to brush for a full two minutes twice daily. Encouraging and educating kids on the importance of caring for their teeth and mouths can help lay a foundation for good oral health habits for years to come. 

Schedule Your Child’s Dental Cleaning in Albuquerque

At the dental office of Brian K. Dennis, our team provides comprehensive dental care for your whole family. From your child’s first tooth eruption, we offer lifelong dental care for patients of all ages. Our family-focused dental practice welcomes parents to stay with their children during their dental exams and cleaning. At your child’s request, Aspen, our resident therapy dog, will also provide support to your child.  Dr. Dennis has practiced family, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry in Albuquerque for more than 30 years. Upon retiring as a teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools, Dr. Dennis’s wife joined him to help provide compassionate, efficient, and patient-first service to patients of all ages. 

To schedule your child’s first or routine dental exam and cleaning, request an appointment today, or call 505-292-1051.