The doctors and team at Kids Healthy Teeth believe that kids are not only the most important members of our family, but they are also the main source of happiness and fun for us adults. Kids are important, and that is why as a dentistry practice for kids in Katy, we want to provide you with some knowledge so that your child can keep up their good dental habits. Today, we want to make sure we give our parents all the information regarding the importance of gums.
When we think of oral health, our focus tends to be on teeth. But that’s only half the story. Gum health is an integral part of dental and oral health and can also play a significant role in the overall health of your body.
Taking care of your gum health and helping guide your children in good oral habits can provide a lifetime of benefits. Let’s talk about the basics of gum or periodontal disease and the main reasons why gums are so important.
What Is Gum Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is a serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone. Periodontitis is common but, fortunately, it’s a dental health complication that’s fairly preventable.
The cause of gum disease is a cause of poor oral hygiene, so you might suspect your child has this medical condition if they have bad breath constantly. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, meaning that correct dental care is necessary for its prevention, but It’s also a risk factor for heart and lung diseases, so you shouldn’t think it’s just a matter of suppressing bad breath or a quick cleaning of your teeth.
Periodontitis can have severe consequences.
Symptoms of Gum Disease in Children
As parents ourselves, we know you want the best for your child. That’s why we have put together a small list of symptoms to look for if you suspect your child is suffering from periodontal disease. Symptoms may include
- Swollen or puffy gums.
- Bright red, dusky red, or purplish gums.
- Gums that feel tender when touched.
- Bleeding gums
- Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing.
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing teeth.
- Bad breath.
- Pus between teeth and gums.
Periodontitis vs Gum Disease
If left untreated, gingivitis quickly becomes a more advanced form of gum disease known as “periodontitis.” When this occurs, small spaces begin to form around the tooth where plaque has hardened.
Not only can this mean a permanent loss of bone, but the toxins that eventually find their way into the rest of the body can have far-reaching effects. Recent studies have even highlighted the relationship between gum or periodontal disease and heart disease.
The Importance of Gums
As you can see, gums are important, and so is helping your child maintain proper oral health. Below we will take a detailed look at four reasons your child’s gums are so crucial to their oral and all-around health.
Here are four reasons your gums are so important.
They Keep Your Teeth in Place!
No matter how great the condition of your child’s primary or permanent teeth, they require healthy gums to support them. Your gums serve as a seal around your teeth, protecting more sensitive tissues underneath. So, yes; it’s crucial you keep your kid’s mouth healthy.
When bacteria sit on gums and teeth, small pockets form over time, providing even more places for plaque to hide. This continual erosion of gum tissues exposes teeth, increasing the likelihood of cavities and even loose teeth.
Healthy Gums May Lower Heart Disease
Gum disease can be a risk factor for cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke. Studies point to gum health as an overall predictor of heart health. Experts aren’t sure exactly why this is, and the link has long been a matter of debate.
However, what’s unquestionable is that heart attack and stroke patients also tend to have gum disease.
It’s Possible That Having Healthy Gums Can Mean a Better Memory
According to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, researchers have noticed a link between performance on memory tests and gum health.
Study participants with gingivitis marked by swollen, sensitive gums consistently performed poorly in memory tests compared to those with healthy gums. Apparently, remembering to brush and floss can help you remember where you put your car keys!
Healthy Gums Keep Your Whole Body Healthy
Bacteria in your mouth can find their way into the bloodstream when gums are inflamed, meaning that your body is more susceptible to a bacterial infection. Research has even uncovered links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth, reducing the chance of gingivitis and possibly keeping you healthier overall.
An efficient oral hygiene routine can help reduce the risk of developing a bacterial infection that leads to additional complications
Preventing & Treating Gum Disease
If you believe that you or your children may have any stage of gum disease, it’s vital to take action. Aside from maintaining a regular schedule for oral care, be sure to stay active with dental visits and checkups every six months or sooner if there is a potential problem.
You should be aware of other risk factors which may play a role in significantly increasing the likelihood of gum disease. These include smoking, diabetes, medications causing dry mouth, and hormonal changes in young girls and women.
We recommend such treatments to save primary and permanent teeth equally. If your kid suffers from periodontal tissue damage, their permanent teeth (if they’re old enough) may experience premature loss, permanently hurting their ability to speak and chew.
Have More Questions?
As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you have concerns about your family’s oral health and keeping your kid’s primary and permanent teeth as safe as possible. You can trust our pediatric dentist specialists to know which dental treatments can help your kid the best and maintain healthy gums.