How Important Are Teeth Cleanings for Kids?

Regular teeth cleanings are extremely important to your child’s dental health. In the first decade of life, children are at high-risk for cavities. Cleanings remove plaque from the teeth, prevent cavities, and identify any cavities that have already formed. Without regular teeth cleanings, cavities can spread and worsen, causing more serious problems. Regular teeth cleanings are the best way to keep your child’s smile beautiful and healthy and prevent lengthier, more anxiety-inducing visits to the dentist for fillings.

You’re used to brushing your child’s teeth and teaching him to do a great job of brushing his own, but unfortunately, regular brushing isn’t enough to keep teeth clean. Toothbrushes can’t reach all the grooves in the teeth, and it’s difficult to reach certain angles in the mouth. Even daily flossing doesn’t always catch all of the residue that becomes lodged between the teeth and the gums. It’s important to come in for regular cleanings so that your child gets the “deep clean” necessary to prevent plaque buildup and cavities.

Some people assume that regular cleanings aren’t important for kids when they still have their baby teeth, but this is not true. Healthy baby teeth allow your child to chew comfortably, aid in speech development, save space in the jaw for permanent teeth, and keep the gums healthy.

Children need just as many cleanings as adults–one every six months, beginning at age two. However, it’s best to bring your child in even before this. Her first dentist visit should be around her first birthday, so we can check on the healthy development of her teeth. If your child becomes accustomed to coming to the dentist from a young age, she will be less likely to experience fear or anxiety about the visits.

Parents sometimes worry about the frequency of teeth cleanings if their young child is afraid of the dentist or doesn’t understand what’s happening. However, regular visits to the dentist are necessary to helping your child understand that we’re here to help keep his teeth healthy. We want to make the experience as comfortable and relaxing as possible for your child, and we’ll explain to him what we’re doing during these cleanings and why. Not skipping visits communicates to your child the importance of good dental hygiene. If your child is especially anxious about the dentist or has trouble sitting still for the duration of a cleaning, we can use laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to make the experience more relaxing and pleasant for him.