- Gum disease is an infection and inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup.
- Poor oral hygiene, diet, genetics, health conditions, and medications can lead to gum disease in children.
- Parents should ensure proper oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular dental visits to prevent gum disease in children.
- Replacing missing teeth can help prevent plaque accumulation between teeth and gums.
- Proper brushing and flossing techniques are essential for preventing gum diseases among children.
As a parent, you want your child to have healthy teeth and gums, but sometimes despite your best efforts, you find out they have gum disease. You may wonder how this happened and what you could have done differently. Gum disease affects the gum tissue of your child’s teeth, and if left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other serious health issues. Here’s what you need to know about gum disease, why your children have it, and how you can deal with it.
What You Need to Know About Gum Disease?
Gum disease typically develops due to plaque buildup. Poor oral hygiene, such as inadequate brushing and flossing, allows plaque to accumulate along the gumline. Over time, the bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums, leading to the following stages of gum disease.
Gum Disease and Leading Causes of It Among Children
Children are prone to gum disease compared to other age groups. Here are some reasons for it:
Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the primary causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. If your child is not brushing and flossing regularly, plaque can build up on their teeth and gum line, leading to inflammation and bacterial growth. As a result, the gums may become swollen, red, and bleed during brushing, flossing, or eating. To prevent this, encourage your child to brush and floss twice daily and supervise them if necessary.
What your child eats can also affect their oral health. Too much sugar and carbohydrates, such as candies, sodas, and chips, can increase the risk of cavities and gum disease. These foods produce an acid that damages the tooth enamel and inflames the gum tissue. To protect your child’s teeth and gums, limit their sugary or starchy foods and encourage them to drink water and eat fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes, gum disease can run in families due to genetic factors. Your child may also be more susceptible if you or your spouse have a history of gum disease or other dental problems. In such cases, monitoring your child’s oral health closely and scheduling regular dental checkups is essential. Your dentist may recommend unique treatments or procedures to prevent or treat gum disease.
Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and hormonal changes, can also increase the risk of gum disease. For example, children who have diabetes may have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels, which can lead to gum inflammation and infection. Hormonal changes during puberty can also cause gum sensitivity and bleeding. If your child has underlying conditions, you must inform your dentist and seek appropriate care.
Finally, some medications can also affect your child’s oral health and lead to gum disease. For instance, some antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and immunosuppressants can cause dry mouth, which reduces saliva production and allows harmful bacteria to thrive. If your child is taking any medications, ask their doctor about the potential side effects on their oral health and how to prevent them.
Preventing Gum Disease in Children
Thankfully, as a parent, you can prevent gum disease among children. Here are four ways you can do that:
Replace Missing Teeth
Children can lose teeth for several reasons, such as decay and trauma. If your child has missing teeth, they must be replaced immediately. Not only does this help restore the look of their smile, but it also prevents gum disease since there are no gaps for plaque-causing bacteria to accumulate. You can do so through tooth replacement services. They can implant a fake tooth if they have lost a permanent tooth early on. However, follow a professional’s guidance, as dental implants might not be recommended among younger children.
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is the most, if not the only, way to prevent gum disease. Ensure your child is brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once daily. Also, ensure they use the right technique to remove plaque and bacteria while brushing and flossing. Encourage them to visit their dentist for regular checkups to monitor their oral health.
Encourage your child to eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and whole grains that can help maintain strong teeth and gums. Limit their sugary or starchy snacks and drinks intake since these can increase the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Regular Dental Visits
Children need to visit their dentist regularly, even if there are no visible signs of gum disease. A professional can detect gum inflammation and infection early on and suggest appropriate treatments to protect your child’s oral health.
Gum disease is a common oral health problem that can lead to several serious issues, such as bad breath and tooth loss. As a parent, it is essential to monitor your child’s oral health and take steps to prevent gum disease. These tips will help you protect your child’s gums and teeth for years.