Childhood Dental Concerns

As a parent, you do your best for your children and this includes their dental health. You brush their teeth after each meal and encourage flossing and regular check-ups to ensure that their teeth stay strong and healthy.  While this goes a long way to helping prevent cavities and other dental issues, some children may experience dental issues due to early neglect or genetic issues that make them predisposed to poor oral health. This is when you need to make a periodontist a part of your healthcare team. 

Lasting Effects of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the term given to poor gum health and can be a concern for children who did not have access to proper dental care during their early development. This could have been due to poor sanitary conditions or from living in orphanages or in other situations where proper brushing and flossing were low on the list of priorities.

Gingivitis that is left unchecked can grow into a more serious condition as a child ages and result in recession of the gums and even poor bone growth (due to lack of proper nutrition) that causes teeth to become loose or soft due to loss of calcium and other needed nutrients. 

A child may resist brushing or flossing due to inflammation and pain, which can exacerbate the condition.

Steps to Improve Oral Health

If your child is suffering from poor dental hygiene and experiencing pain or bleeding during brushing or while eating, you should schedule an immediate visit with your dentist who may be able to refer you to a pediatric periodontist to help determine the most effective treatment.

For some children this may mean removing decaying or painful teeth in order to prevent further damage to surrounding tissue and permanent teeth. 

If your child is older, this may mean deep cleaning or scaling in order to remove deep decay and possible reconstruction or root canals to firm up remaining teeth. 

Remember to Discuss Underlying Conditions

If your child's periodontal issues are the result of other underlying conditions such as diabetes or other health related conditions it is important to discuss this with your periodontist prior to your child's visit. It is also important to prepare the periodontist if your child's condition is the result of early neglect or trauma. A child who has experienced long-term neglect may have a harder time trusting an unknown adult. 

It is important to remember that a child's dental health can affect their confidence level and their ability to eat a full and varied diet that is needed for proper nutrition. Ensuring that their mouth and teeth are healthy is a strong factor in their overall well-being.