The poking, the prodding: it’s no wonder many children hate going to the dentist.
It can be a scary place. Plus, what if the child has a cavity? That would be really bad.
As a parent, you should encourage your child to see a dentist. However, you may let your imagination get the best of you, enough so that you both put off even a routine teeth cleaning.
After all, you make sure your child brushes their teeth and flosses every day and night. You don’t see anything weird in their mouth. Nothing hurts.
Your child is in the clear, right? They don’t have to see a dentist.
Actually, they do. The Canadian Dental Association suggests regular teeth cleaning in six-month intervals.
Have you and your family been putting off a trip to the dentist for far too long? Here’s why you need to schedule an appointment for a teeth cleaning, pronto.
1. To Learn Better Oral Hygiene Habits
The behavior you model for your children is the behavior they emulate.
That means if you want to convince your child to go to the dentist regularly, you need to do the same yourself first. It may not be easy, but it’s what’s best for your family.
Besides, what are your child’s oral health habits really like?
Unless you’re in the bathroom with your child when they brush and floss every morning and night, you’re not totally sure if they’re practicing proper oral hygiene.
Are they brushing long enough? Are they using the right technique? Are they brushing too hard and causing their gums to bleed?
Do they floss at least once a day? Are they getting between every tooth?
When you take your child to get a teeth cleaning, the dentist will instruct them on how to properly practice oral hygiene. Your child will go home and floss and brush the right way.
2. To Clean Tartar and Plaque
As an adult, you may have fooled yourself. You may have said those brown stains on your teeth are from drinking too much coffee.
Then you saw the same stains on your child’s teeth.
It turns out they’re not really stains at all. Instead, teeth often turn brownish when tartar and plaque accumulates.
What if you brush and floss daily? Can you still develop tartar and plague?
Absolutely. There’s no way to prevent the growth of either bacteria except with regular teeth cleanings. Even after the cleanings, the bacteria slowly grows all over again.
The only way to keep teeth free of tartar or plaque is with cleanings every six months.
3. To Prevent Gum Disease
Are you a little behind on your teeth cleaning? Are you worried your child may have a buildup of tartar or plaque?
It’s never too late to see a dentist. By ignoring oral health and letting this bacteria grow and grow, it’s possible to develop gum disease.
Gum disease starts as gingivitis. This is the easiest to treat because the bacteria hasn’t really damaged the teeth much yet.
Once gingivitis worsens into gum disease, it actually becomes impossible to restore teeth to their normal color and condition. The tartar and plaque can be cleaned, but never entirely removed.
4. To Avoid a Deep Cleaning
Doesn’t a deep cleaning sound like a good thing?
Yes and no.
It’s good for oral health, but it can be uncomfortable.
During a deep cleaning, the dentist will do both root planing and scaling. They may favor scaling tools or ultrasonic technology.
Both gum disease treatments, which are often done over multiple appointments, involve scraping traces of tartar and plaque from the teeth.
Does this sound like fun? No, of course not.
To prevent a deep cleaning and all the other nasty side effects of gum disease, make sure to schedule a family teeth cleaning sooner rather than later.
5. To Make Sure Teeth Are Healthy
Every parent remembers the moment their child lost their first tooth.
It’s a sweet, tender, delicate memory. Your child may have been confused about what happened at first. Well, that is until you told them about how the tooth fairy gives them money for the tooth.
Then they too become excited to lose teeth.
Losing baby teeth is just one of the major oral health changes a child undergoes as they grow up.
Their teeth are changing all the time. These need to be clean, and they need to be healthy.
As an adult, you don’t expect your teeth to change much. Therefore, you probably only visit the dentist when you’re in unbearable pain.
With children, though, it’s different. Their teeth are growing as they do. They need regular oral health checkups to make sure everything is good.
6. To Make Sure Teeth Are Properly Aligned
Ah, braces. Maybe you had them as a kid. You probably remember how uncomfortable they were.
As a child’s teeth grow, the alignment of the teeth may change. They may need braces to counteract this.
Your child may be very upset about this news. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world, though.
So what do braces have to do with teeth cleaning?
A lot, actually.
A dentist can catch teeth misalignment during a cleaning. The sooner they notice this, the less misaligned the teeth generally are. That means less time wearing braces.
That ought to make any kid smile.
7. To Check the Health of the Gums
Have you ever had bleeding gums?
It’s scary to brush your teeth like normal and spit out blood. It’s even scarier when it happens to your child.
As mentioned, your child might be brushing too hard. That can hurt gums and cause them to bleed.
Ulcers can be another cause of gum bleeding, as can some oral health diseases.
When you schedule a teeth cleaning for your child, a dentist will inspect the gums. If something seems amiss, they can suggest a treatment.
8. To Make Sure Teeth Aren’t Chipped
Kids sure are active. They’re also reckless sometimes.
If your kids roughhouse a lot, it’s possible they may come home bruised, bleeding, and injured.
That sometimes means chipped or even cracked teeth. As a parent, you should consider this an emergency situation and get help immediately.
If a chipped or cracked tooth is treated quickly enough, it can be saved. You don’t really want your kid walking around with a filling or crown at such a young age, after all.
What if you didn’t notice your child’s tooth has started to crack? During a routine cleaning, a dentist will definitely see the offending tooth and treat it.
9. To Make Sure Teeth Aren’t Loose
Losing a tooth, as mentioned, is a big rite of passage for a child.
Unless they’re already lost all their baby teeth and then a tooth falls out.
Then it’s scary.
Once a child’s baby teeth have all fallen out, they shouldn’t have any loose teeth. If they do, they need to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Of course, by that point, the tooth may be ready to fall out, and saving it could be difficult.
If a child comes in for a teeth cleaning, though, a dentist will see the wobbly tooth. They can offer a treatment that will keep the tooth secure.
10. And the Biggest Reason to Get a Teeth Cleaning…to Catch Cancer (and Other Diseases) Early
You wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.
You don’t smoke to avoid lung cancer.
Do you brush and floss to prevent oral cancer?
Maybe, but you probably don’t think of it that way.
You might brush and floss to prevent bad breath, keep your teeth sparkling, or to whiten your teeth. You very well may just brush and floss because you feel you have to.
You and your family should be aware of the possibility of developing oral cancer. Just like with all types of cancer, early screening is key.
You can request an x-ray or a similar test. Make sure all members of your family get screened.
While you don’t have to do this every six months, make it an annual habit.
Your oral health is as important as your physical and mental health.
Just like you wouldn’t try to make your own cast if you broke your foot, you shouldn’t try to care for your oral health exclusively at home.
If you haven’t had a teeth cleaning lately, it’s time to schedule an appointment. You should be seeing your dentist for these cleanings on a six-month basis. By doing so, you’re preventing gum disease and possibly even oral cancer.
Although the dentist can be a scary place, as a parent, you have to be a role model for your children. That means facing your fears and taking your family to the dentist.
Looking for a family dentist in the Calgary area? Dentrix Dental Care specializes in dentistry for children and adults. They offer services like oral cancer screenings, root canals, teeth extractions, fillings, and teeth cleanings.
Dentrix even has emergency services for infections or cracked teeth. Contact them today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.