September is National Gum Care Month! Our gums are an important function of our health and teeth. When we think of gum disease, we often think about it only affecting adults. The truth is teenagers and young children can form a milder form of gum disease, gingivitis. According to the American Dental Association, “cases of gum disease in individuals under 18 can add to the estimated 50 percent of adults who have the disease if they are not treated correctly.”
Gum disease is caused by bacteria and food debris that build upon and around your teeth. They form a sticky substance called plaque. As children grow older and gingivitis remains untreated, severe forms of gum disease form and can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, damage to the soft tissues and bones underneath the teeth.
The earliest symptoms of gum disease are puffy, swollen or red gums. In honor of National Gum Care Month, here are three ways to protect your gums.
The first step in preventing your child from getting gum disease is to encourage a good dental hygiene routine. Your child should brush his teeth at least twice a day. It’s important to brush your teeth and keep a healthy routine of flossing, brushing your teeth and using a mouthwash.
If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing is a great way to prevent any form of gum disease from forming.
Check your child's mouth for signs of periodontal disease, including bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath. These are important signs to look out for yourself, to prevent gum disease.
3. Regular Visits
Regular dental care is extremely important in helping to keep your mouth healthy. Visit your dentist for routine care — especially cleaning — at least twice a year. Your dentist can remove hardened plaque and any tartar that you're not getting to with brushing or flossing.
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