Several times a week, our office gets a call from new parents asking, “How early should I get my child’s teeth cleaned?”
The answer may surprise you!
Did you know that the American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends children start getting their teeth checked when their first tooth erupts (usually around 6 months of age) or by their first birthday? Some parents are shocked by how early we recommend they start bringing their child into our office for their first teeth cleaning appointment considering your child may not even have all of their baby teeth yet!
However, even if your child doesn’t have a mouthful of teeth yet, there are many benefits to getting them on a dental cleaning regiment early and often.
Early exposure will help your child feel more confident at the dentist’s office
Sadly, many children and adults suffer from dental anxiety. A common theme that we usually hear is that a patient had one negative experience at the dentist’s office, and they’re still frightened years later. That’s why working with the right pediatric dentist early on is so important. Ensuring that your child feels calm about going to the dentist will help ease their mind when they have to go in for dental appointments later on.
Taking your child to the dentist before they have a more serious issue will help create positive associations with the dentist rather than negative ones. Unfortunately, many children struggle with dental anxiety because they only go to the dentist when they’re in pain or need a procedure. Going to the dentist preventatively, instead of waiting until there’s a cavity, means they can gain confidence at the dentist’s office before they’re uncomfortable.
Our office goes above and beyond to make the experience welcoming and positive for your child. Between the state of the art equipment and TVs on the ceiling, we want to make sure we make your child feel at ease during their appointment.
Frequent visits will help create healthy habits
Taking your child to the dentist for their first teeth cleaning at the recommended age of one year old or younger will help them and the whole family begin to develop and maintain healthy habits surrounding oral hygiene. Our team will typically focus on what foods to avoid for healthy teeth and how to prevent plaque, staining, and decay at the first appointment.
During your child’s first teeth cleaning, we’ll also discuss a healthy diet. It’s important that your child is eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, and milk and dairy products, and meat, fish, and eggs. The best way for your child to avoid decay is to make sure they limit sugar and starches.
Remove stains or build up from your child’s teeth
Our friendly staff will gently clean your child’s teeth during their first visit. The cleaning will help remove any stains or build up your child has on their teeth.
Additionally, the dentist will look around your child’s mouth to make you aware of any issues like sores or bumps.
Lastly, your child’s dentist will also give you information on bottle and pacifier use, teething, thumb sucking, and other feeding practices for your child.
Teeth cleaning early and often can prevent future cavities and other dental issues
The most obvious benefit is that proactivity about your child’s oral hygiene will help them avoid dental issues down the road. Poor oral hygiene can lead to dental cavities and gum disease. It’s also linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
With frequent cleanings, you can make sure your child doesn’t develop cavities or other serious dental issues as they age. Being proactive about scheduling and maintaining dental appointments can save your family thousands of dollars in the long run. Not only can you save money, but more importantly, you can prevent your child from painful cavities, crowns, root canals, or more severe extractions.
Making sure your child visits the dentist before or at a year old has enormous advantages.
- Help them avoid dental anxiety
- Create healthy habits like flossing and brushing frequently
- Remove any stain or build-up from your child’s teeth
- Save money and prevent future issues
Remember, with an early start, your kids can have beautiful and healthy smiles for the rest of their lives. It’s not too late to make an appointment today. You won’t regret investing in your child’s smile.