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Children are just as susceptible to gingivitis as their parents are. This early stage gum disease can be recognized by red, swollen gums that bleed when irritated. Gingivitis can be successfully treated but if it is not diagnosed it can advance to full blown periodontitis which can eventually lead to a weakened bone structure and tooth loss. This is one reason to schedule regular six month appointments with a pediatric dentist.
As children become young adults they encounter hormonal changes, some of which can affect their vulnerability to gum disease. During these years it is especially important to maintain a strict regimen of oral care including brushing, flossing and professional checkups.
Some studies have discovered a genetic link to the odds of children developing gum disease. If parents have been affected by periodontitis they should take extra precautions to protect their children. Again, brushing and flossing along with regular dental visits are necessary for prevention. Alert your pediatric dentist to any genetic history of gum disease.
Other than a genetic tendency gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacterial plaque that weakens the teeth. Plaque can’t be avoided but it can be controlled by brushing and flossing on a regular basis. Children who have been fitted with braces will have a more difficult time keeping their teeth free of plaque – it’s hard to reach between and under all those wire brackets.
Diet and lifestyle choices can also affect our children’s vulnerability to gum disease. Pediatric dentists recommend that parents do their best to restrict their child’s intake of carbonated beverages, sweet and sticky candy and acidic juices. Tobacco products and mouth piercings should continue to be discouraged.
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Watch for significant signs of periodontitis such as receding gums, loose teeth or consistent bouts of bad breath. Anything other than healthy, pink gum tissue is unnatural. If you notice any changes that you feel are suspicious let your dentist know asap.
Dentist 4 Kidz in Aurora has provided the convenience of online new patient forms as well as a link to PayPal on the website, www.dentist4kidz.net. We provide more information on ways to keep your child’s teeth healthy in our patient education center.