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Gingivitis in children

We are all under the impression that gingivitis is an adult issue. But in fact, gingivitis is a disease which crosses all age barriers and at every age, it is important to pay attention, protect and treat. Teeth are one of our most important assets. Regarding many other medical treatments, people have the background or ability to treat using various methods. However, when it comes to teeth (aside from genetics), correct maintenance and treatment of our teeth can make the difference for anyone. Besides for caries prevention, it is also important to know how to care for and protect the gingiva. In addition to teaching healthy hygiene habits to our children by being diligent with them about brushing, we are also protecting them from periodontal diseases which can occur even at a young age.

Gingivitis in Children
Contrary to popular belief that gingivitis is an “adult” issue, research shows that gingivitis is also common among children and adolescents. It is important to understand that gingivitis is in fact the first stage of periodontal disease and like any other disease, early diagnosis is important to the success of the treatment and healing. On the other hand, it is important to know that if a child has gingivitis which is not eliminated despite the treatment, it is possible that he is suffering from a different disease entirely, and that the gingivitis is just one of its symptoms.

Among children, there are five clear signs which point to gingivitis: bleeding, swelling, redness, halitosis and gingival recession. Genetics also is a factor here, and if one of the members of the family suffers from periodontal disease, extra precautions should be taken regarding oral hygiene and frequent examinations. The best treatment for gingivitis is careful brushing, the use of dental floss and periodic visits to the pediatric dentist. Without treatment by a dentist, gingivitis can develop into destructive periodontal diseases. An additional effective treatment method is mouthwash. It is very important, when choosing a mouthwash, to ensure that the mouthwash is suitable for children and does not contain alcohol.

We should also be sure to recognize the fact that what we eat, or more precisely, what our children eat, has a huge impact on the state of their gingiva. The consumption of foods rich in simple sugars increases bacteria and plaque which accumulates around the tooth. When we eat foods rich in dietary fibers, we are not only taking care of our bodies in terms of nutrition, but of our teeth as well. Chewing these foods causes a high quantity of saliva to be secreted and thus, the teeth remain healthy.

Even regarding children who still have their baby teeth, it is very important to take care to maintain a high level of oral hygiene. The bacteria do not skip over them just because they are little. These young children are the primary consumers of foods which stick to the teeth, such as candies or snacks like Bamba, and therefore, they are in the high risk group for both caries and gingivitis. Make sure to be diligent with them about brushing twice a day, using gauze or a very soft toothbrush, as early as the eruption of the first tooth. Oral bacteria do not discriminate between age or tooth type. They break down the sugars which have accumulated around the teeth and cause caries from the moment they come into contact with the tooth, even from the nursing stage.

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