Dentist checking the teeth

How to Prevent and Treat Gingivitis in Your Children

Although gum disease is less common in children than in adults, preventive measures can help ensure your kids don’t develop this oral condition.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease caused by plaque, which is also responsible for tooth decay. The main cause of gingivitis in children is poor hygiene. This means that kids who don’t brush their teeth regularly and visit a kids’ dentist in Millcreek have higher risk for the condition compared with those who brush their teeth in the morning and before sleeping at night.

Certain diseases, however, such as type 1 diabetes, Kindler syndrome, Down syndrome and Papillon–Lefèvre syndrome, can also place children at greater risk for the condition.

More than half of teenagers, meanwhile, have gingivitis. Teens are prone to having issues with their gums because during puberty, there’s a rise in levels of hormones in the body that cause increased blood flow to the gums.

Symptoms

It’s relatively easy to spot the symptoms of gingivitis because it’s marked by red and swollen gums. Children with the condition may also spit blood and find blood in their toothbrush when cleaning their teeth.

The condition may not be as painful as having tooth abscess, but it can lead to worse oral health problems if left untreated. Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which is the inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. This condition causes the formation of pockets that may become infected and destroy the gums and the connective tissues supporting the teeth.

Prevention

Little boy brushing teeth

Brushing the teeth can help prevent the development of gum disease. Brush your teeth together with your children, so you can show the proper way to clean their gums and teeth. Flossing once a day is also important.

What your kids drink and eat can also influence gum health. Dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese are known to boost gum health because of a protein known as casein. Casein helps neutralize the oral acid produced by bacteria in the mouth that can damage gum tissue. Shiitake mushrooms also have lentinan, an antibacterial compound that fights plaque-building bacteria. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, and citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are rich in vitamin C, which can help stave off inflammation in the body.

Children should likewise see a dentist for a general checkup regularly. Once your kids turn a year old, bring them to a dental clinic. They don’t need to be suffering from tooth decay or gum disease to see a dentist. Regular checkups of at least twice a year can spot the early onset of oral problems and prevent them from getting worse.

Treatment

If despite your efforts, your children still develop gingivitis, it’s important to seek professional help. Deep cleaning of the teeth, along with good dental health practices, can help reverse the condition. The dental hygienist may also recommend your children to use an oral rinse and prescribe antibiotics and other medicines. A more severe case of gingivitis may require surgery.

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