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Child Teeth Cleanings with Care
Just like adults, child teeth cleanings and exams are recommended every six months. Our children’s smiles, speech, eating, and overall well-being all have one thing in common – their teeth! The oral health of our children’s baby teeth is just as important as their permanent teeth. Any pediatric dentist will encourage a child’s first dental visit at the age of one, including having a professional cleaning! This ensures healthy habits are started young and allows parents to be well-informed on how to care for a child’s oral health. Maybe your child has already passed one year old and hasn’t had a dental visit yet. It’s never too late to start, so make a dentist appointment as soon as possible. Prevention is key to dental health and a child’s teeth cleaning is the first step.
The Process of Child Teeth Cleanings
During pediatric teeth cleanings, a hygienist will carefully clean away any plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. We typically put sunglasses on the kids to block the bright light from their eyes and make their visit fun. Our office is great at adding fun features to the appointment such as cool sunglasses to block the light and using cartoons for entertainment (and distraction).
Depending on the child’s age, X-Rays may be taken. This will help the dentist during the exam to evaluate the child for any cavities and abnormalities. It will show permanent teeth developing in the jaw and give information about the health of those teeth and how they are positioned to erupt underneath the primary teeth. In addition, Dr. Jonathan Hale routinely evaluates for gum diseases, tooth decay, and will discuss his findings with the parents.
During the dental cleaning, the hygienists will give “tooth vitamins” (fluoride treatment) to protect the enamel and keep the teeth strong. This step is important because it helps protect the tooth enamel from breaking down due to acid produced by bacteria. It also helps strengthen the tooth structure so that if the tooth does break down, it won’t chip or crack.
Our hygienists do a great job at creating rapport and relationships with kids. They are trained to use special techniques during a child’s dental cleaning to keep them engaged and happy. Plus, they know how to explain dental hygiene in a way that kids understand. After the hygienist has cleaned the child’s teeth, the dentist will do an oral exam to look for any signs of tooth decay or dental caries, and propose dental treatment, if any.
Child Teeth Cleanings at Home
Teach your children good dental care habits early on. This way, they’ll be able to maintain good oral hygiene as they get their permanent teeth. Start by brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist twice annually. If kids learn proper oral hygiene habits when they are young, then they’ll be less likely to develop cavities later on. Caring for baby teeth sets the foundation for healthy adult teeth.
Your child’s daily routine should consist of using a small smear of toothpaste, on a soft toothbrush, and brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Since kids don’t have as many teeth as adults do, using those two minutes to let them brush the way they want to allows them to feel in control of the task. They can even chew on the toothbrush for a while.
Limit the risk of tooth decay in primary teeth by limiting sugary foods and sugary drinks from their diet. Maintaining routine cleanings for your little one is the most important thing you can do for your child in terms of their oral health.
Tips on Tooth Brushing
- Make sure you and your child brush their teeth twice a day with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste.
- Using a soft toothbrush, brush in gentle circular motions for two minutes or for as long as they will let you.
- Make it fun! Use a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character or put on some brushing music!
Until about the age of seven, a parent should always brush for the child for a short time to ensure that the teeth are free of food and plaque. This does not have to be the full two minutes, however, going in before or after they brush for a brief time can be effective. Children do not have the proper dexterity to tooth brushing until around seven or eight years old.
At-home care is important, but it’s not enough to keep your child’s teeth healthy. You also need to take them to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. During these visits, the dentist can detect any problems early on and provide treatment before they become more serious.
When Should I Start Flossing My Child’s Teeth?
Flossing is important for children and adults alike! Parents often think that children don’t need to floss, but this is inaccurate. Any teeth that are touching need to be flossed to keep the gums healthy and prevent plaque buildup. Even before the teeth touch, it’s great to get in the habit.
We support flossing using handheld floss picks to get them started. They are easy to hold in their little hands and can be much quicker than using manual floss. It can also be more time-consuming for a parent to use string floss on their child, which can cause impatience and unwanted behavior.
Flossers and floss picks are a great way for children to get used to flossing on their own. Using a manual string will always be best when using proper flossing techniques, but flossers and other floss alternatives are better than not flossing the teeth at all. Plus, floss picks come in fun colors and flavors that kids love!
Baby Teeth Cleanings at Hale Family Dentistry
Children’s oral health is extremely important, and just like adults, they should visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam. By starting early and implementing preventive measures, we can ensure that our children have healthy smiles for life! If you haven’t scheduled your child’s dental appointment yet, do so today – our pediatric dentist will be more than happy to help get your child on track to great oral health.