How To Keep Your Child From Developing Gingivitis

25 September 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


Most people think of gingivitis as a disease that affects adults. While this is true for the most part, children can develop gum disease at a relatively young age. As you may know, gingivitis can lead to cavities, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss. You can start your child on the right path to a lifetime of good oral health by helping to prevent gingivitis. The following tips can help you with this.

Store Your Child's Toothbrush Separately

Most families will store toothbrushes together in the same holder, and holders are typically placed on the sink. Unfortunately, the nylon bristles can collect bacteria from toilet water that is forced into an aerosol when you flush. Hands that touch the brushes can deposit bacteria too, and so can the brushes themselves when they touch one another. There are around 700 known oral bacteria strains. Once a new strain is introduced, the new bacteria will thrive and grow amongst the other bacteria that are present, and this will increase the number of microorganisms in the mouth. 

The introduction of new bacteria strains to the mouth is a concern, and one in particular needs to be avoided. This strain is Porphyromonas gingivitis, and it is linked directly to gum disease. A healthy mouth is not likely to contain this bacteria, but it may be present if you have a serious case of gum disease. The bacteria can end up on your own toothbrush and then transfer to your child's if they sit too close to one another. To prevent the spread of all types of oral bacteria, make sure that each member of your family has their own toothbrush holder.

Limit the Crackers

If you are a typical parent, then you likely provide your child with snacks throughout the day. Unfortunately, if these snacks include crackers, then your child may be at risk of developing gingivitis. Crackers are made up of carbohydrates that break down easily into basic sugars. The breakdown of the carbohydrates begins as the enzymes in your saliva interact with the food and create a paste called bolus. While most of this paste is swallowed, some of the sticky material will remain on the teeth. 

The partially digested crackers will contain sugars that feed the bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria create lactic acid when this occurs, and this substance will eat through the dental enamel and irritate the gums. The soft tissues in the mouth can become damaged by the acids, and this can result in inflammation. As the gums pull away from the gums, bacteria can enter the small crevices and openings around the teeth and irritate them further, and gingivitis can then develop.

Good Food Options

Your best option to help your child fight gingivitis is to make sure your child brushes twice a day. However, if you are like many parents, then you may forget to always brush your own and your child's teeth. If your child is old enough to brush alone, then tooth brushing enforcement may be a low priority for you. If this is so, then make sure to limit crackers and provide foods that can force away both plaque and partially digested carbohydrates when you do offer starchy snacks. Crunchy foods like celery, carrots, and raw broccoli are a good choice, and so are food items that contain a great deal of water like tomatoes and watermelons. 

Water alone sipped throughout the day can rinse the teeth too, and so can extra saliva that is produced when sour foods are consumed. Some healthy foods that are sour or tart include grapefruits, mangos, greek yogurt, fresh cherries, and sauerkraut. 

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