Professional teeth cleaning for children is recommended though there is a difference of opinion among dental professionals regarding the ideal age for the first dental visit.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists says the first visit should occur at age 6 months or when the first tooth erupts and no later than age 1.
The purpose of this visit being to check for early signs of tooth decay and advise parents on prevention.
Some dentists suggest waiting until age 3 for the first dental visit. At age 3, the dentist or hygienist is able to more completely evaluate and treat the child and begin establishing rapport and trust.
Assuming there are no problems and parents are receiving and following the good dental advice of their pediatrician, I think it is better to wait until age 3 when children are able to cooperate and participate.
Even at age 3, the visit should be short and sweet.
Though most children don't form as much dental calculus or plaque as adults, cleanings two times each year are still needed for several reasons…
Comfort level ~ It's important to establish a friendship with children. Treating a child who likes going to the dentist is much easier than seeing an older child for the first time.
Dental exam ~ Cavities, developmental and even speech issues can be identified at a dental cleaning appointment.
Fluoride ~ Fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay and should be given as part of a dental cleaning for kids.
Oral Health Instructions ~ Oral health instructions are given and help the child learn how to take great care of their teeth.
Parents have an important role but dentists and hygienists may have more credibility with kids and are able to point out specific areas that need improvement.
Establish a good habit ~ Seeing the dentist every 6 months will greatly improve the odds of a lifetime of good dental health.
Preventative care can be fun for children and prevents not only dental problems but makes dental fear and anxiety in adulthood very unlikely.
Adults who suffer from dental phobia usually have a traumatic dental experience during their childhood.