How Often Should Children Get a Dental Checkup?

kids of Dr. Jacob and Lauren Diebold

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Your child’s early routines, including dental checkups and cleanings, can create a foundation for healthy teeth into their adult years. After a child’s first checkup between six months and a year of age, they should return to the dentist every six months. During these checkups, your family dentist will take x-rays (or feel around their gums in teething children) to make sure everything is healthy.

Then, if the child is old enough for a cleaning, they will remove any tartar buildup and apply a topical fluoride that helps to strengthen the teeth and protect against cavities.

Why Do Children Need a Dental Cleaning So Often?

Truthfully, children need dental cleanings as often as healthy adults. Anyone whose teeth and gums are showing signs of gum disease may need to visit even more frequently. The purpose of these frequent visits is three-fold:

Cleanings Protect Against Gum Recession

When the bacteria in our mouths interact with the food we eat, it forms a slimy substance called plaque. Ideally, we brush plaque away every morning and night, so it doesn’t have the chance to harden into tartar.

Tartar is an unfortunate breeding ground for bacteria next to the gum line. The more the bacteria build, the more inflamed the gums become, and the more they recede and form pockets. In these pockets, food and bacteria can lodge and further inflame the gums. Once the gums begin to recede, the recession can be stopped, but the gums won’t ever regrow on their own.

Cleanings Prevent Permanent Tooth and Gum Damage

Our gums are vital to the health of our teeth. Not only do they keep the roots of our teeth protected from bacteria that can lead to decay, but they keep them firmly lodged in place so they can withstand the daily wear and tear of eating, clenching, and biting.

Gum recession leaves teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay and the same bacteria that lead to tooth decay lead to gum recession. It’s an interconnected process that can only be stopped with diligent dental hygiene and help from your dentist. If tooth decay is allowed to continue without intervention, it will lead to mineral loss in the teeth and jaw. Bone loss loosens the hold your roots have on the bone, making your teeth weak and unstable.

Your Child’s Dental Health Predicts Their Adult Dental Health

Studies show that children who have cavities early in life will struggle with their dental health into adulthood. Per the National Institute of Health (NIH), A Life Course Perspective on Health Trajectories and Transitions theorizes that this is for two primary reasons:

  • The strength of bacterial colonies
  • The permanent effects of tooth decay and gum recession

If your child’s dental health is allowed to get out of hand, they will be fighting an uphill battle for the rest of their life. This is the true reason why dental cleanings are recommended so often.

Choose Feliciana Dental for Your Family Dentist

At Feliciana Dental, we hope to build a strong foundation for your child’s dental health. The earlier we can build strong routines, fight tooth decay, and instill a love of the dentist, the easier it will be for them to maintain their own teeth and gums as adults. 

To schedule your child’s next dental checkup, call 225-635-4707 today.

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