A teeth cleaning is one of the best preventive measures to protect your little one’s oral health. That’s why the pediatric dentists at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington want to make sure your children’s teeth cleanings deliver long-lasting results. For a healthy smile following a teeth cleaning, good aftercare is essential.
Let’s talk a bit about what a pediatric teeth cleaning is and what you can do to preserve your kids’ results.
What is a teeth cleaning?
A teeth cleaning is a preventive measure against plaque and tartar (hardened plaque). Plaque is a type of bacteria that sticks to the teeth. It’s very difficult to clean on your own.
While regular brushing and flossing can help remove plaque, only a professional dentist can target those hard-to-reach crevices. Dentists have special tools to carefully remove plaque and tartar without damaging your child’s teeth or gums.
These visits also serve as an opportunity for our kids’ dentist to evaluate your child’s oral health. During a teeth cleaning, the team:
- Assesses tooth and jaw development
- Screens for abnormal growths
- Checks for signs of tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease
- Looks for dental damage (chipped teeth, worn teeth, etc.)
- Takes digital X-rays
- Provides brushing and flossing education
- Prepares for orthodontics
If necessary, our pediatric dentist may recommend cavity prevention treatments, such as silver diamine fluoride (SDF) or dental sealants.
How often should my child see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends bringing your child in for a checkup with their dentist at least once every 6 months. These early visits are crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
5 Teeth Cleaning Aftercare Tips
Now that your little one has a fresh, healthy smile, you want to keep it that way! If your child has sensitive teeth or gums, they may need extra care after a routine teeth cleaning. While tooth sensitivity is perfectly normal after a teeth cleaning, there are several ways to minimize discomfort and protect your child’s oral health:
Use a calcium pre-rinse.
A mouth rinse with calcium helps fluoride bond to the teeth. Fluoride actually remineralizes tooth enamel, which can reduce tooth sensitivity. The stronger your child’s tooth enamel is, the less likely they are to have cavities. Rinsing with a calcium pre-rinse is a simple way to ensure their teeth remain healthy after a professional cleaning.
Brush teeth the right way.
The best type of toothbrush for kids has soft bristles and a rounded head. This ensures the toothbrush can effectively reach each tooth without irritating the gums. Keep the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in small circles for two minutes.
Invest in fluoride toothpaste.
When choosing toothpaste, look for brands that contain fluoride. While fluoride toothpaste can’t match the power of a professional teeth cleaning, it can help protect tooth enamel.
Floss every day.
Flossing is one of the most important aftercare steps following a teeth cleaning. Your child’s teeth may feel too sensitive to floss the day of the cleaning, but make sure to start again after 24 hours. Ideally, all children should start flossing daily once they have two teeth that touch.
Avoid certain foods.
If your child experiences tooth sensitivity after a teeth cleaning, avoid foods with extremely hot or cold temperatures. These include ice, ice cream, or very hot soup. Once their discomfort subsides, try to focus on preserving their freshly cleaned teeth. This means avoiding foods that eat away at tooth enamel, such as:
- Acidic fruits
- Fruit juice
- Crackers and chips
- Processed spaghetti sauce
While these foods aren’t harmful every now and then, regularly consuming them can breed plaque and bacteria, which leads to cavities.
Still have questions about teeth cleaning aftercare? Call the dental care team at Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online now!