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Gum Disease & Growing Smiles: Can It Be Prevented?

July 6, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — brushforkids @ 8:45 pm
a young boy with a healthy smile

It is believed half of the adults living in the United States have some form of gum disease. While this number is in the millions, individuals may not realize that children, too, can develop this oral health problem, largely increasing the number of cases across the country. But is it preventable in young smiles? Can parents and kids take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of infection? A pediatric dentist explains the reality of this disease and what parents can do to ensure their child’s smile is better protected.

Kids and Gum Disease: Know the Facts

Young smiles are just as prone to gum disease as adults. In fact, this is largely due to a number of possible factors, such as:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits at home and their novice brushing and flossing abilities
  • Various autoimmune diseases and other illnesses (weakened immune system)
  • Certain medications can deplete saliva, creating an ideal haven for bacteria to grow inside a dry mouth
  • Unhealthy diets full of sugars and starches
  • Various hormonal changes that can occur throughout puberty
  • Genetics
  • Teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism)

When the soft oral tissues surrounding the teeth become inflamed and infected, it is because bacteria are attacking the gums, causing them to appear red and tender, and bleed after brushing and flossing. Other common symptoms include bad breath, receding gumline, a change in your child’s bite, loose teeth, and pus that forms between the gums and teeth.

How to Treat Gum Disease

When it comes to treating gum disease in children, a pediatric dentist will recommend appropriate treatment depending on the severity of the bacterial accumulation. If gums are only slightly bleeding and inflamed, it may be possible to recommend better oral hygiene at home and regular cleanings to eliminate the symptoms of gingivitis. However, if the disease advances and causes further damage to your child’s gums, teeth, and bone, their dentist will likely recommend antibiotics, prescription mouthwash, or in some cases, a more intense dental cleaning or surgical intervention.

Prevention is Key to Combatting Gum Disease

Since no one wants to see their child deal with the unpleasantry of gum disease, there are things you can help your child with when it comes to prevention. Some helpful tips include:

  • Creating a routine for oral hygiene at home. Make sure your child is brushing twice daily, flossing, and if old enough, rinsing. Fluoride toothpaste can help to strengthen tooth enamel but be sure to only use the designated amount.
  • Establishing healthy eating habits and limit access to sugars and starches.
  • Maintaining six-month dental checkups and cleanings with their pediatric dentist to ensure plaque and tartar are thoroughly removed.

These tips and proactive measures will allow your little one to reduce their risk of gum disease (in all forms) while also embracing a healthier smile year after year.

About the Author
At Brush Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Mira Albert is a pediatric dentist who leads a team of experts who make it possible for little ones to enjoy visiting the dentist. Offering a fun and exciting environment filled with kid-friendly amenities, we believe in helping children become enthusiastic about oral hygiene while keeping parents informed of ways they can work to improve and help their children maintain healthier teeth and gums at home. If you are looking for tips or suggestions to ensure your child’s smile is better protected year-round, contact us at (630) 504-2223.

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