As a parent, you are always concerned with protecting your children. And when it comes to their oral health, you want to make sure that their mouth, teeth and gums will be strong and well throughout the rest of their lives. So you feel that it’s your responsibility to help them form healthy practices as best you can. That’s why your children’s dentist is suggesting that you pay close attention to the risks for gum disease that your kids face. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to avoid it.
What is Gum Disease?
A gum disease is a condition that stems from the excess accumulation of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and gums. Allowed to fester for too long, these acidic vermin begin to eat away at the teeth and gums. Their damage unfolds in the three phases of gum disease:
- Gingivitis – At this stage, any damage done as a result of the excess bacteria can still be reversed, which is a good thing. The symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen gums and slight traces of blood in the spit.
- Periodontitis (Gum Disease) – This is a stage your children should never get to. It involves damage to the supporting bone and fibers that hold their teeth in place. This damage is irreversible.
- Advanced Periodontitis – The final stage of gum disease, this happens because of severe negligence. At this point, the fibers and bone are completely destroyed, which can cause the teeth to loosen or shift.
When Can Children Get Gum Disease?
Although your children should never reach the last two stages of gum disease during their childhood, it’s important that they not get off to the wrong start with their oral health.
From the moment they begin eating solid food, your children are susceptible to bacteria growth because they feed on the leftover food particles in the mouth, especially sugars. That’s why it’s important to start teaching proper oral hygiene to your children at least by the age of two. This accomplishes two goals:
- Lays a Foundation – It is important to start working with your children on their oral hygiene at a young age because it helps instill positive habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. And by laying this firm foundation for them early, you are lessening the chances of them becoming adults with poor oral health.
- Prevents Childhood Gingivitis – Proper oral health helps remove the harmful bacteria and plaque that cause gingivitis. And studies show that around 50% of children in America suffer from this condition, so it’s an epidemic that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
How to Prevent Gingivitis
All roads to oral health lead back to hygiene. By teaching your children to brush and floss correctly, and at least twice a day, you are giving them a major weapon to fight against gingivitis. And of equal significance are the foods they eat. They should include little to no processed products and more naturally occurring items, like fruits, grains and vegetables.
The final great asset that you and your children have is your dentist. And by maintaining semi-annual appointments with her for cleanings and examinations, you’re guaranteed that if your dentist does discover any signs of gingivitis, she’ll direct your children quickly back to optimum oral health.
About the Author
Laura Mears, DMD attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where she received her undergraduate degree. She then went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine from the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. She practices at JL Dental and can be reached for more information through her website.