A prophylaxis or a dental cleaning removes plaque, tartar, and stain from the teeth to promote healthy teeth and gums. Routine dental cleanings are the foundation for a lifetime of healthy and beautiful smiles. They are recommended for children starting with the eruption of the first tooth or no later than 12 months of age. Some children may be at higher risk for developing tooth decay and gum inflammation (gingivitis). These children may require dental cleanings at greater frequency to help prevent dental issues.