Gum disease usually takes years to develop. In the majority of cases it is due to poor oral hygiene. But if you think gum disease only strikes people in their 50s and 60s, think again. In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 50 percent of the population of 30 year olds and older suffer from periodontal disease. That percentage increases to over 70 percent for adults over the age of 64, and gum disease is on the rise. However, the truth is that gum disease can affect children too. In fact, it can begin at birth. Does your child have gum disease?
Gum Disease in Children
Because gum disease is mostly due to poor oral hygiene, anyone can get it. There are three particular types of gum disease found in children:
Chronic gingivitis: Chronic gingivitis is the most common type found in children. This type of gum disease can be easily prevented with proper oral hygiene. Teach your children to brush regularly, floss daily, and make sure they attend professional dental cleanings twice a year.
Generalized aggressive periodontitis: This type of gum disease usually strikes around puberty. Hormonal changes increase the accumulation of plaque and tartar. The major symptom is gingival inflammation.
Aggressive periodontitis: This type of periodontal disease progresses faster and tends to be genetic. It usually strikes teens and young adults and is localized around the first molars and incisors. The loss of jaw bone can be severe.
You can help prevent your child from developing gum disease by establishing good oral hygiene habits in your children from birth. Begin by cleaning your baby’s gums with a damp, clean, soft cloth just a few days after birth. Clean their gums on a daily basis. Schedule their first dental visit around their first birthday, and then every six months after. In addition:
- Teach your child how to brush and floss effectively.
- Make sure they brush at least twice a day and floss daily.
- Check their mouth routinely for swollen, bright red, bleeding gums, or receding gums (gums that are pulling away from their teeth).
- Be a role model by practicing proper dental hygiene yourself.
ABOUT YOUR GARLAND DENTIST:
Dr. Vi Mai and the caring staff at Mai Dentistry are dedicated to ensuring that our patients are proud of their beautiful, healthy smiles. With years of experience in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, we can expertly diagnose and treat early dental trouble to preserve your natural tooth structure. To learn more, or to schedule your next appointment, call us today at (972) 530-0552.