Did you know that children’s gums are vulnerable to disease like gingivitis when they do not pay close attention to their daily oral hygiene habits. While it is a milder form of periodontitis, food particles, saliva, and mucus can aggravate a gum infection that slowly erodes the gum line over time. Read these eight ways your child’s gums may be impacted.
1- Bad Oral Hygiene
Often, children dislike regular brushing and flossing of teeth because it interferes with playtime or snacktime. They don’t know that lack of oral hygiene is the primary cause of gum disease caused by plaque that has gathered teeth and gums. When plaque hardens, it can irritate and infect gums and teeth.
2- Pre-existing Conditions
Illnesses, such as diabetes and autoimmune illnesses, put children at higher risk for gum disease. Diabetes reduces the flow of nutrients through the blood to certain parts of the body, including teeth and gums and weaken teeth and gums. In autoimmune diseases, prescription medicines that counteract these conditions often suppress the immune system so the body cannot produce white blood cells to deal with foreign bodies such as food, bacteria, and other pathogens.
3- Prescribed Medicines
A side effect of certain prescribed medicines is dry mouth, where saliva production in the mouth drops drastically. Saliva is crucial for getting rid of plaque, bacteria, food particles; and balancing the mouth’s acidity levels. Conversely, another side effect of medications is the abnormal growth of gum tissue, increasing the risk of gum disease as bacteria and food particles latch onto the gum surfaces.
4- Mouth Breathing
Much like the previous cause, breathing solely from one’s mouth causes dryness in the oral cavity and prevents saliva from washing particles away from teeth and gums.
5- A Sweet and Starchy Diet
Consuming sugary and starchy foodstuffs such as candy, bread, cake, and pastries weakens the gums’ natural defenses against gingivitis as they might not get enough nutrients to ward off infections and heal properly.
6- Hormonal Changes
Hormone shifts in a teenager’s body significantly increase blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive and irritable by plaque and food particles.
7- Grinding and Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching can cause gum and tooth recession, making them more susceptible to gingivitis. It might be best to invest in a mouthguard if your child unknowingly grinds or clenches their teeth.
Like heart problems, diabetes, and psychiatric disorders, gum diseases are illnesses that can be inherited. Check with a relative or dentist concerning your family’s medical history so you can nip a dental emergency in its bud.
Don’t be fooled, as gum disease can affect your kids! Whether it’s through bad habits, medication side effects, or genetics, knowing what causes it goes a long way in keeping their pearly whites—well—pearly white and their gums in the peak of health.Unsure if your kids have gum disease eating away at their mouths? Set an appointment with Dr. Mihirgir Bava, our dedicated dentist practicing in Raleigh, NC. Please call 919-872-1700 to schedule a visit!