Taking your infant to the dentist may not be on your radar as a young parent.
After all, how much dental care could this toothless little creature really need? And you’re right. Before teeth emerge, professional dental care isn’t a necessity. But once those tiny pearly whites start poking through, it’s time to start thinking about taking your little one for a dental cleaning.
But how often is a dental cleaning necessary?
Let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.
Dental Cleaning for Kids
Before your little ones ever see the inside of a dentists office, they need to be practicing proper oral care at home.
Teeth need proper cleaning between deep cleans to stay healthy, and good habits start early. So make sure you are instilling good habits.
Before Teeth Appear
Even before they have teeth, make sure you are washing your baby’s teeth with a soft cloth after each meal and at bathtime.
Babies should not go to bed with a bottle. In addition, limit juice and never dip a child’s pacifier in something sweet.
Infants With Teeth
After your little one has teeth, clean them twice a day with a small toothbrush.
Children this young SHOULD be using fluoridated toothpaste, but only use a smear about the size of a grain of rice, since babies cannot spit yet.
Children Under 5
Preschoolers can start learning the basics of tooth care as soon as they can hold their own toothbrush.
You should do the majority of the brushing until they have practiced, and should make sure you are supervising until good brushing habits have been established.
Children under five need only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and should be reminded to spit out toothpaste rather than swallow it.
Flossing can start once children have all their baby teeth.
Children 5 – 12
Continue supervising brushing and flossing until good habits are established.
These ages are prime snacking time, so limit the intake of sugar.
Remind teens that self-care is important and watch carefully to ensure they are still taking care of their teeth.
Also, remember that teens eat constantly, so make sure the available snacks are healthy.
How Often Do Kids Need a Cleaning?
Now that you are making sure dental care is happening between visits, you need to think about dental visits.
How often does your little one need a dental cleaning?
The American Dental Association recommends a cleaning every six months, starting six months after your baby’s first tooth emerges.
If you’re getting a late start, don’t worry! Just call your dentist and get started now.
If you are without dental insurance, call your local health department. Often, they have free or low-cost dental clinics, especially for children.
Making a Dental Cleaning a Positive Experience
Dentists are there to help you maintain a healthy smile, but many, children in particular, are nervous about their visit.
Read books about the dentist with your little one, and remind them that the dentist is there to keep their smile healthy.
For more information on keeping your child’s teeth as healthy as possible, visit us today!
Dr. Perez has been in the private practice of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for almost 30 years. He has been educated in top universities around the world, receiving training in the United States, Spain and Mexico. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Perez is fluent in both Spanish and English.