1st In Smiles also wants to be 1st in gum disease prevention for our Plano, TX patients. The medical field has long known there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease — heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. While we’ve yet to figure out the exact link, we do know that keeping your gums healthy can help keep your heart healthy too!
But you probably have more than just your own gums to take care of. Let’s look at some ways you can help the children, teens, and elderly folks in your life prevent gum disease.
Gum Disease Prevention for Children
If your child’s teeth are touching, it’s time to start flossing! This generally happens around the age of two. This truly is the first step you can take in your child’s life toward gum disease prevention. Flossing will also prevent between-the-teeth cavities and set your child up with a lifelong daily habit that will keep their adult teeth just as healthy as their baby teeth.
There are special flossers made just for kids with flavored floss and larger handles that make them easier to hold. There is also mouth rinse available made in colors and flavors to appeal to children. Make sure you spend time together every night as a family flossing before bedtime until your child is able to effectively brush and floss their teeth without you.
This should be around the age of 6 or 7, but it can vary. You can check this by picking up some reveal tablets at the store that will show you if there is still plaque left behind on your child’s teeth after they’ve brushed and flossed.
For very young children, you should floss their teeth for them. Make sure you scrape the floss up and down the sides of each tooth and beneath the gumline. Don’t hold the floss too tightly or you could hurt their little gums. Be sure to use a new bit of floss between every tooth, so you don’t spread plaque from one tooth to the next.
Gum Disease Prevention for Teens
It can be harder to stay on top of your teen’s oral hygiene than when they were a small child. You’ve got less oversight on their life, but you can still reinforce the importance of the good dental habits you began for them when they were younger.
Talk to your teen about gum disease and don’t be afraid to share some “worst-case” scenarios with them. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss if it isn’t treated. And your busy teen doesn’t want to take time out from hanging with friends to hang out with 1st In Smiles — even though our team is the friendliest!
Let your teen know to let you know if their gums are bleeding or sensitive. You should bring them in for an appointment right away. We can determine if your teen has early stage gum disease, gingivitis, that can be treated at home or with a cleaning here, or more serious periodontal disease that we need to treat in our office.
Your teen might have a soda and chips on their break at work, then go from work to hanging with friends, and before you know it that sugar has been left for bacteria in their mouth to feed on for hours! That sounds like a recipe for gum disease! Encourage your teen to keep floss with them when they’re on the go. There are also mini-disposable toothbrushes available for brushing your teeth when you’re out and about.
Gum Disease Treatment for the Elderly
Unfortunately, by old age, if you haven’t been caring for your teeth and gums, gum disease has likely already settled in. We can begin by treating gum disease with a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. This will relieve your gums of infection and allow the pockets between your gums and teeth to heal.
For particularly aggressive infections, we will also treat the pockets between your gums and teeth with Atridox®, an antibiotic. This antibiotic is slow release and will go to work healing your gums over several days.
If you have aging parents you are looking after, you can discuss with them the importance of regular flossing. Let them know you’d like to have them around as long as possible and a little act like flossing can help keep them healthy.
You don’t have to care for the health of your family’s gums all alone — we’re a tag team! Tag us in in every 6 months for dental cleanings and dental exams and whenever you’re concerned you or someone you care about is in need of gum disease treatment. Call us at 972-380-8105 or use our online form.