Teach Your Kids To Fight Gum Disease
Gum disease is an important topic and one that we return to regularly in our blogs.
But one aspect that we haven’t touched on specifically is gum disease and children.
Most parents are very good about reminding their kids to brush their teeth before they go to bed. But how many of us remind our kids to floss, too?
We don’t want anyone to feel bad about this. We just want to give some gentle encouragement to help all our children develop habits that can help them remain free of gum disease during their childhoods and, hopefully, beyond.
The dentists and staff at Hubbard & Leath Dental in Rochester, MI, are on your side. We want to show you how you can reduce your family’s risk of developing gum disease.
What’s Good For Your Gums Is Good For Your Teeth
Healthy gums are essential to having a healthy mouth.
If you mouth was a movie, your teeth would be the stars. They would get the most screen time. They would get the most attention.
But you need a strong supporting cast to make this movie work. Your gums are part of that supporting cast.
Your teeth are anchored into the bones that shape your mouth. Your gums help to hold your teeth in those positions. If your gums become weak, then your teeth can feel loose or even fall out.
That won’t help your smile at all.
You can begin your child’s oral health care before his or her first tooth emerges.
Using moist gauze or cloth, wipe your infant’s mouth daily. When the first tooth erupts, you can start brushing gently. And when two teeth come in next to one another, you can start flossing gently, too.
You may have to continue brushing and flossing your children’s teeth for a few years, but as they get older they will want to do more things on their own.
Demonstrating how to brush (twice per day for two minutes each time) and floss (once every day) is a good way to teach your children. Imitating your actions can help them learn what they should do.
You want your child to get a short piece of floss. Show him or her how to wind it around his or her fingers to keep control of the floss. Try to be patient. This can be tricky for little hands to learn.
You want your child to hold the floss with his or her index fingers and thumbs. As they work the floss between their teeth, they should hug it around each tooth on both sides and gently clean under their gumline as well.
This will remove a lot of the bacteria and plaque that they could not reach by brushing alone.
Also, remember to show your child how to move the floss to use a clean piece between each tooth. When they are finished, they should throw the floss away.
What You Should Watch For
Gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease, can be common among children who don’t floss routinely.
Here are the things you should watch for:
• Gums that look redder than normal
• Gums that look more swollen than normal
• Gums that bleed when your child brushes or flosses
If you notice these things, there is good news. Gingivitis is often reversible with routine dental hygiene. If your child has not been brushing and flossing like he or she should, then he or she may be able to reverse the gingivitis by doing those things daily.
Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) is less common in children, but it can happen. The symptoms of advanced gum disease include:
• Sore or painful gums
• Gums that are separating from your child’s teeth
• Constant bad breath
• Loose teeth (that should not be loose)
This form of gum disease can only be treated by a dental professional. If the disease reaches this stage, brushing and flossing aren’t enough.
Make Routine Visits To The Dentist
We want to see every member of your family, including your children, a couple times each year at our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI.
During your visits, we will closely examine your children’s teeth. We will take X-rays to watch for changes and to make sure things are moving as they should.
We will give your child a thorough, professional dental cleaning. If we find signs if gums disease, we can take steps to treat it.
We also are happy to answer questions you or your child may have about their oral health.