About half of all children suffer from some form of periodontal disease, a bacterial infection in the gums, according to studies published in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If it is left untreated, it can harm the teeth and jaw, especially in adulthood. Fortunately, if this condition is caught early enough and properly treated, its effects can be managed and even reversed.
Several factors can lead to the onset of periodontal disease in children. These include poor oral hygiene and untreated plaque. Diet, diabetes, hormonal changes, and even genetic predisposition can also increase your child’s risk.
Your child should be screened for periodontal disease if their gums are:
- Bleeding from brushing and/or flossing
Periodontal disease in children should not be ignored. If left unchecked, it can cause your child’s gums to pull away from the teeth, affecting the structure of the bone beneath and potentially impacting their jaw alignment and bite. Over time, bone and tooth loss can occur.
This condition is preventable and highly treatable when it is caught early. Regular cleaning at home and examinations in our Alexandria periodontal office will help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. It is up to you to teach your child about the importance of daily oral hygiene. Have them brush with fluoride toothpaste two minutes twice a day, including all tooth surfaces and the gumline.
Flossing is also critical. Ideally, your child should floss twice a day or after meals, but once per day will suffice. You, as a parent, will most likely have to help your child thread the floss and use it properly. Our periodontist in Alexandria is more than happy to show you and your child the proper way to floss.
Diet is also important. Always make healthy foods readily available. Emphasize fresh fruit and vegetables for the entire family and limit foods that are high in starch, sugar, and acid. That includes soda, sports drinks, and juices. Encourage your child to drink water or rinse after consuming sweet foods and beverages.
If periodontal disease has begun, it is not too late to treat or even reverse it. Deep cleaning treatments can help remove plaque and tartar under the gumline. In some cases, antibiotics may be applied to the affected area or taken in pill form. In advanced cases, surgical cleaning can remove infected areas under the gum and restore gum structure.
Our periodontist in Alexandria can examine your child’s teeth and gums in a gentle, positive manner and make the best treatment recommendation. If you suspect your child has sore, bleeding, or inflamed gums, please contact our office right away, or schedule a routine periodontal screening today.
Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302
Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (301) 638-4867
601 Post Office Rd., Suite 1-B
Waldorf , MD 60423