Periodontal Disease and Our Children

Our Dental Blog | Child Dentistry | 06.17.2020

There is nothing more terrifying in the world than thinking of our children possibly catching a disease.

However, most children (and even adults) experience bleeding of the gums during regular dental hygiene at one point in their life.

If you or your child’s gums are bleeding from flossing or brushing, you have Gingivitis; a form of periodontal disease.

Don’t be too alarmed. Gingivitis can be combated with simple education and overlooking your child’s brushing habits.

But as you know from us already, knowledge is most of your battle!

So, let’s go through what exactly is gingivitis, what it can lead to, and what are the causes of this fairly common periodontal disease.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the same, whether it affects an adult or a child.

From a medical standpoint, gingivitis is a common and mild form of periodontal disease (sometimes referred to as gum disease). In more generic terms, gingivitis is a bacterial infection within our gums that leads to bleeding, inflammation, and potentially, more chronic forms of periodontal diseases.

In fact, if we break it down the word into its root terms, Gingiva means gums, and -itis means inflammation.

The disease itself onsets from poor dental hygiene practices, such as a lack of brushing, flossing, and/or visits to the dentist. Without proper oral care, food debris from our meals will lodge itself underneath the gum line.

These bad habits result in a build-up of plaque in and around our gum tissue. If left long enough, the plaque will harden into what is known as Tartar.

At this juncture, a regular toothbrush won’t do you any good. You will need to see a dentist to have your teeth cleaned thoroughly. With enough time, your gums will heal back to their resilient selves.

With all this information, it is easy to see how children would be more susceptible to catching gingivitis, as children are often brushing without proper technique and sometimes not at all.

Is Poor Dental Hygiene the Only Cause?

While our dental habits certainly influence the majority of cases, gingivitis can stem from a variety of different causes beyond missing a brush or two.

These can include gene mutations, poor diet, prescription medication, type 1 diabetes, hormonal changes (I.E. puberty), kindler syndrome, and mouth breathing (drying of the gums).

The first steps for preventing and treating gingivitis will always be looking at oral habits, however, if you truly believe your child has been doing their best, health care practitioners can help uncover other possible illnesses for the source.

What Happens if Gingivitis Gets Worse?

Before we dive into it, know that treating gingivitis by following dental healthcare professional’s instructions will usually prevent further complications.

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can spread, evolve; and deteriorate soft tissues, teeth, and even bone (the more serious condition known as periodontitis). Eventually, periodontitis will result in a loss of teeth and will require restorative surgery to combat the symptoms.

As well, several studies have linked mouth diseases and plaque to increased risk of cardiovascular health.

According to Harvard Health, “people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular events.”

This all stems from chronic inflammation. Over the short term, acute inflammation is a defence mechanism that is a response to our immune cells attacking bacteria and irritants, which aids in healing. But with no end, inflammation can be the catalyst for many health problems.

How to Stop Gingivitis

As we have said, time-and-time, listen to your dentist!

Brush twice daily, floss at night, and make regular visits to your dentist. This will help keep you and your child’s mouths free of plaque, tartar, and food debris, allowing our miraculous bodies to do their things!

If it has been a while since you have seen your dentist or are looking for a new one, call Treehouse Dental Care today to discuss availability!

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