You worry that your child may develop tooth decay. However, another dangerous oral health problem threatens to ruin your youngster's smile. It's gum disease, a problem most people associate with adults. At General Dentistry 4 Kids in Virginia Beach, VA, your dentist, Dr. Elleni Kapoor, encourages careful attention to these important oral tissues so young smiles thrive.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a progressive and destructive inflammation of the soft, gingival tissues of the mouth. Gums support, protect and nourish underlying bone and tooth roots. If diseased through an overgrowth of bacteria-filled plaque and tartar, gums recede, bone deteriorates and eventually, teeth loosen and may be lost.
Gum disease--also called periodontitis--effects the total body system, too. It can lead to heart disease, dementia, stroke and more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that periodontitis in children and teens comes from:
- A sugary diet
- Poor at-home brushing and flossing
- Infrequent in-office dental care
Periodontitis may at first express as mild gingivitis (bleeding upon brushing and mild redness). It may progress to a more advanced form of the disease if not caught and treated early. Your hygienist and Dr. Kapoor can tell you if your child has signs of gum disease.
Guarding against gum disease
Your Virginia Beach dentist highly recommends early at-home and in-office dental care for your child. Twice daily brushing and once a day flossing (performed by the parent for young children) removes the plaque which is so destructive to gum tissue and tooth enamel.
Also, Dr. Kapoor recommends six-month visits for all youngsters beginning as soon as those baby teeth begin to erupt. The diet at home should include plenty of fruits and vegetables and several glasses of fluoridated water daily.
Finally, regarding teens--some seem more prone than others to development of gum issues. Wearing braces, puberty (and an overabundance of estrogen and progesterone in girls) and poor brushing and flossing around molars encourages periodontal disease. So, parents should continue to be alert to what's happening in their children's mouths throughout those challenging teen years.
Let us help
At General Dentistry 4 Kids, Dr. Elleni Kapoor and her team love helping children achieve excellent oral health and bright smiles. To learn more about gum disease, call the office in Virginia Beach, VA, at (757) 965-3333, or ask us about it when your child comes in for his or her next cleaning and examination.