What if someone told you that something your child does each and every day could lead to a serious health condition? Like any responsible parent, you would put an immediate stop to it. Yet, the majority of children are over-brushing their teeth, which has been found to be a contributing factor in the development of gum disease.
When it comes to children’s dental care, the focus is typically on cavity prevention and orthodontia for correcting crooked smiles. However, preventing gum disease should also be a fundamental concern. Many parents are surprised to learn that gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, is an extremely common childhood condition that can lead to more serious forms of gum disease later in adulthood.
The Dangers of Gum Disease
When most of us think of gum disease, we think of tooth loss. While the damage that gum disease causes on teeth and gums can certainly weaken teeth and cause them to fall out. This is only part of the story. Gum disease is a complex condition that affects more than 75% of all Americans, and it has been linked with some very serious conditions, including coronary artery disease, pre-term delivery and low birth weight babies, osteoporosis, poorly controlled diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.
What is the connection between gum disease and more significant, potentially life-threatening conditions? Researchers believe that bacteria that causes gum disease can potentially enter the bloodstream through diseased gum tissue. This can lead to inflammation in the lungs, heart, joints, and other areas of the body.
Although certain illnesses and medications can put some children at a greater risk of developing gum disease, for most, simple strategies can stop it before it begins to take hold. Flossing, antiseptic mouthwash and regular checkups and cleanings are important. A healthy, balanced diet can also help young bodies fight off infection and heal.
Obviously, twice daily tooth brushing is also important. However, over-brushing can actually begin the cycle of receding gums, root exposure and the development of gum disease. Children’s teeth and gums are fragile. Standard, nylon bristle brushes are highly abrasive and can put them at risk of gum damage, even with the right brushing technique.
A rubber bristle brush that is gentle on the gums has been proven to be as effective as a standard toothbrush when it comes to removing plaque from teeth. Yet, it doesn’t have the same level of abrasion so it protects gums and teeth.
Gum disease isn’t just for adults. Its development often starts in childhood with over-brushing and other bad dental habits. If you want to ensure your child’s smile lasts a lifetime while possibly preventing some very serious diseases in the future, consider a rubber bristle toothbrush, such as the PeriKids® or PeriClean® Ultra Soft Toothbrush. It’s a smart way to be proactive about the long-term wellbeing of your child’s teeth and gums.