Per the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendation, your child’s first teeth cleaning should be between ages 6 month and one year - right when their first tooth comes in! 6 months is the standard age that children’s teeth start coming in.
A child’s very first tooth cleaning is a very gentle and easy procedure. The dentist will simply check your child’s teeth for any preliminary signs of decay or cavities, then lightly brush or floss to make sure everything is in shape. While cleaning, the dentist will look for any signs of early tooth decay.
The teeth cleaning usually occurs on the second dental visit. Your child’s first dental visit is all about helping them to feel comfortable in the dentist chair, and to adapt to what “going to the dentist” means! It’s a chance for them to meet the dentist, get used to the office space, and for the dentist to get to know your child and your family. This will create a level of comfortability that will make the teeth cleaning a breeze.
Children have a high risk of getting cavities or experiencing tooth decay up until the age of 10, which is why teeth cleaning is so important. Regular dental cleanings (we recommend twice per year) ensure that any ‘problem areas’ are attended to and that any early signs of tooth decay are addressed. Sometimes, some of the back molars are harder to clean even when you’re brushing your child’s teeth. We can see and clean more with our lights and tools!
These initial teeth cleanings are also educational. The dentist will guide your child through what they’re doing, and teach them how to brush and floss adequately on their own at home (when they’re old enough to do so!). In some cases, the dentist will ask your child to show their brushing and flossing techniques, to make sure they’re doing it properly.
As your child grows up, these cleanings will become more thorough and intensive, utilizing tools that help the dentist to access all the grooves of the teeth and hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Teeth cleanings provide the opportunity for a clean and healthy slate, removing plaque buildup and any other bacteria in the mouth.
If your child already has their first few primary teeth coming in, be sure to schedule an initial dental visit and a first teeth cleaning.