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

Professional teeth cleaning plays a crucial role in dental health. Going to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned is something everyone in the family should do twice a year. Dental cleanings remove plaque from the teeth that is left behind after brushing and flossing. If not removed, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. 

As a parent you may be wondering, when should kids start getting their teeth cleaned by a dentist? Here’s what dental experts say. 

First Dental Visit 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agree that children should have their first dental visit for an oral examination and dental cleaning around the age of one or within 6 months of the first tooth coming in. Most infants will get their first tooth between the ages of 6 months and one year. 

Benefits of Getting an Early Start With Dental Care 

There are many reasons why child development specialists and dental experts alike recommend that professional dental care should begin early: 

  • Early detection of oral health issues. Early dental appointments check the health of a child’s teeth and mouth. Even before there are any visible teeth, the gums and soft tissues of the mouth can develop gum disease or other conditions. Once teeth are visible above the gums they are susceptible to tooth decay. Early detection of these dental and oral health issues is important so that they can be treated before they worsen.  
  • Proactive treatment. Treating dental and oral health issues is easier when they are detected early. Early dental appointments allow dentists to be proactive in dental treatment to prevent problems and treat existing problems in the earliest stages. Preventive measures such as fluoride treatments help the teeth grow strong and resistant to decay. 
  • Oral hygiene education. Infants need to have their teeth and gums cleaned daily at home. The gums can be wiped with a clean cloth or brushed with a silicone finger brush or a soft-bristled infant toothbrush. Once there are one or more teeth visible, they should be brushed with an infant toothbrush and a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste. Early dental visits provide education for parents on oral hygiene for infants and toddlers. 
  • Acclimation to the dentist. When children begin going to the dentist in infancy they are acclimated to the experience and are less likely to develop fear or anxiety related to dental visits. They are used to sitting in the dental chair and having their teeth examined and cleaned, which makes them much more comfortable and cooperative. 
  • Save money. Preventive dental care and early detection of dental health problems can save families money. Most dental insurance plans cover regular dental appointments for oral examinations and teeth cleanings to prevent the need for restorative procedures that may only be partially covered. 
  • Healthy Teeth for Life. Early dental care lays the foundation for a lifetime of dental health. When children start going to the dentist at a young age and throughout their time growing up at home, they are more likely to continue getting professional dental care into adulthood. 

What if My Child is Older and Has Never Been to the Dentist? 

It’s never too late to start your child on professional dental care. Just because you didn’t make an appointment around their first birthday doesn’t mean you can’t start now. Some children don’t see a dentist until they are in their preschool years or even later. If there are any dental or oral health problems present, treatment can begin now. 

How to Schedule Your Child’s First Appointment

Is it time for your child to have their first dental visit? Dental Associates For Kids Only provides dental care for infants and children of all ages. We provide a healthy start for children for their dental care needs with the ultimate goal of helping our patients enjoy a lifetime of dental and oral health. 
Call 516-625-3806 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.