“Spring cleaning” should be part of every child’s routine, especially when it comes to their teeth! Even with regular daily brushing and flossing, routine cleanings, or “prophylaxsis” (literally “preventive treatment of disease”) at the dentist should be an important part of your child’s spring routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported the first rise in 40 years of children with cavities in their baby teeth — with kids ages 2 to 5 bearing the largest increase. In the case of professional teeth cleaning, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and a twice-annual examination, check-up, and cleaning can go a long way in helping your child avoid being a part of this trend.
Regular cleanings, including scaling and polishing by your child’s dentist or hygienist, will remove plaque and tartar (mineralized plaque) which builds up over time and is nearly impossible to remove with regular brushing or flossing. Dentists use special tools or ultrasonic sound waves to help remove plaque or tartar. Without a regularly scheduled cleaning, plaque and tartar can attack the gums, which can lead to gingivitis and a number of other complications.
Professional cleanings and regular exams can also bolster your child’s at-home dental hygiene routine and give your dentist a chance to take a close look at your child’s mouth to ensure that they don’t have any problems that have gone undetected.
On top of keeping their smile squeaky clean and making sure their oral health is in check, a professional cleaning appointment gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with the doctor about your child’s daily dental routine or any concerns you may have. Regular exams and cleanings can give the dentist a good idea of what your child’s habits are, allowing them to suggest changes you can help your child make to improve his or her oral health. Make cleanings a part of your child’s spring routine, and get them on the right path to a longtime healthy and happy smile!