More than 70% of children ages 6 to 11 are diagnosed with gingivitis each year. Unfortunately, gum disease is far from uncommon in children. Gingivitis is minimal in the beginning but can progress and have lasting consequences.
There are three main stages of gingivitis. Each one will be described in detail. The good news is that there are ways to prevent gingivitis and be proactive.
Brentwood Kids Dentist understands your concerns as a parent. Continue to read to learn more.
Gingivitis is a gum disease that affects people of all ages. Symptoms of the condition include gum irritation, inflammation, and redness. Gingivitis is often the result of deficient oral care.
When kids lack proper hygiene, their gums can get more irritated. Bacteria and dental plaque build up. This is why they must develop a good brushing and flossing routine at an early age.
Stage one of gingivitis is often undetected. Physical symptoms such as swelling and redness will not be prominent. Stage one is when bacteria begin to form due to increased plaque build-up.
As bacteria increase, blood vessels become more dilated. This is due to cytokines. Cytokines cause gum cells to build proteins that ultimately kill bacteria cells.
The issue is that not only do the proteins eliminate bacteria, but good cells. Tissues deteriorate as a result. Once gum tissues become agitated, symptoms of gingivitis will begin to develop.
In stage three of gingivitis, the tissue deterioration causes blood cells to leak. This, in turn, results in the inflammation and redness commonly associated with the condition.
Gingivitis is The Mildest Form of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is correctable and mild. It is the earliest form of gum disease. You can think of gingivitis as a warning. If the gingivitis is not properly cared for, your child can experience far more severe gum disease that can damage their gums and teeth.
Gingivitis is the first stage of Periodontal disease. Advanced Periodontal disease can result in loose teeth and noticeable mouth pain. With the advanced form of Periodontal disease, your child may have to undergo major dental surgery to heal.
How to Prevent Gingivitis, Be Proactive
With dental healthcare, it is essential to be proactive, rather than reactive. If you instill good oral habits in your children at an early age, they will recognize the importance of dental hygiene.
Habits such as frequent teeth brushing (at least twice a day) and flossing can ensure gum health. Be sure to encourage your child to brush for at least two minutes.
Teeth Brushing and Respective Products
For children under the age of six, it is a good idea to have parental supervision during each brush. This is when you as a parent can teach proper brushing techniques.
When selecting a toothbrush for your child, it is recommended that they use a soft bristle option so it does not agitate their gums. Toothbrushes build up bacteria and germs; therefore it is wise to replace them every couple of months.
Additionally, your child may have a preference for a manual or electronic toothbrush. Research has suggested that electric toothbrushes may have greater results than manual toothbrushes.
An electronic toothbrush may be uncomfortable for some kids and that’s ok. A manual toothbrush gets the job done too!
There are many great toothpaste options made specifically for children. Research has shown that toothpaste with fluoride is especially protective against gingivitis. Major dental hygiene companies such as Colgate and Crest offer fluoride options for kids.
Getting your child to floss may be challenging, but flossing is very important to do daily. We recommend that your child floss at least once a day.
Like teeth brushing, be sure to walk your young child step by step through the flossing process. It is a good idea to watch them each time they floss every day and provide helpful suggestions.
There are multiple flossing products to consider. You can purchase a traditional floss product that is either flavored or unflavored. Often kids love a fruity or minty flavor, as it makes the floss more tolerable.
In recent years, flossing tools such as floss picks have become more popular. Picks can be easier for children to use and less scary. Floss picks can also be flavored. Even G.U.M has partnered with the Crayola brand to create fluoride floss picks with a grape flavor.
Mouthwash can also be a great proactive tool to prevent gingivitis. A potential downside is that some kids believe that mouthwash is a substitute for teeth brushing. This is not the case whatsoever.
If you introduce mouthwash as a dental hygiene activity, please be sure to highlight that it compliments tooth brushing, but does not replace it. Doing both activities helps decrease the chances of gingivitis. Children under six years old should not use mouthwash.
Popular companies such as Listerine, Act, and Colgate offer mouthwashes for children. Often these products are marketed with popular cartoon, movie, or tv show characters to better appeal to kids.
Yes, a nutritious diet can have an impact on oral health. There is truth in the saying, “sugar will hurt your teeth.” Junk food is manufactured with preservatives and other harmful ingredients that can damage gums and teeth.
This is why it is very important for kids to brush their teeth multiple times a day and even after meals if they eat something salty or sugary. The healthier your child eats, the healthier their gums will be!
Talk With Brentwood Kids Dentist Today
Brentwood Kids Dentist wants children to not only be comfortable with but enjoy dental hygiene. We believe in the power of a happy and healthy smile. Preventing gingivitis is not hard to do.
Simply, teaching your child to care properly for their teeth can create long-lasting and healthy behaviors.
We invite you to contact us today to make an appointment or learn more about proper dental hygiene. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.