Dental Cleaning Q & A

When should my child’s teeth be cleaned?

Regular dental cleaning should begin shortly after your child’s first teeth start to come in, which typically occurs at six months to one year. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has a slogan: “First visit by first birthday.” In all, there are 20 primary teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, that play a crucial role in your child’s overall health. Baby teeth help children learn how to chew and speak properly, and they pave the way for the development of their permanent teeth.

How often should my child’s teeth be cleaned?

One in four kids in the United States gets a cavity before the age of four, many as early as two years old, which is why seeing the dentist twice a year for professional cleaning is important. Even if your child doesn’t have any cavities, professional cleanings remove plaque, tartar, and other debris that can’t be removed by brushing and flossing alone. If not removed regularly, this buildup can irritate your child’s gums and lead to cavities or gum disease.

What happens during the cleaning?

Because Upper East Pediatric Dentistry specializes in dental care for children, the entire staff works together to ensure your child is comfortable and that your questions are answered. During the cleaning, the dentist or oral hygienist:

  • Examines your child’s teeth

  • Removes plaque and tartar

  • Brushes your child’s teeth with special toothpaste

  • Polishes your child’s teeth

  • Flosses afterward to remove any debris from the cleaning

  • Provides a fluoride treatment

What does a fluoride treatment do?

A fluoride treatment for children is essential because it:

  • Slows or stops the loss of minerals from tooth enamel

  • Strengthens weakened areas in your child’s teeth

  • Controls the bacteria responsible for the acid that causes cavities

Fluoride treatments are available in several forms, including a gel that is applied to your child’s teeth.Are X-rays needed at every appointment? During your first visit, the dentist recommends having X-rays taken to establish a good baseline of your child’s oral health. From there, each case is different and depends on the development of your child’s teeth and amount of decay. To preserve your child’s teeth with regular dental cleaning, call Upper East Pediatric Dentistry or book an appointment online.