Many moms say they are not
aware of gum disease when their children are diagnosed with the condition,
unaware that it can be easily prevented by good dental hygiene and brushing
twice a day.
Gum disease is a condition caused by
bacteria and food debris that builds up on the teeth causing a sticky film
known as plaque. As the plaque hardens, it forms tartar and more plaque
continues to form. Ultimately, this results in the gums becoming swollen and
As it worsens it can cause teeth to become
loose as the soft issue and bone underneath the teeth becomes even softer. It’s
not very common for children to have a serious from of gum disease but it is
common for them to develop a mild form called gingivitis.
Gum diseases can be prevented by regularly removing
dental plaque by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing.
It is important to keep teeth healthy and
to avoid gum diseases. Good oral hygiene starts with using toothpaste which
contains fluoride, anti-bacterial and anti-tartar ingredients and a good
When Enock Khoza’s 6-year-old daughter was
diagnosed with gum disease symptoms, both parents were clueless as to what to
do. And so they did nothing until the little girl started to refuse to eat
because her gums were painful and swollen and she had a high fever.
“With such high fever we were concerned and
decided to rush her to our family dentist. That’s when, after the check-up, the
dentist diagnosed her with gum disease and prescribed antibiotics,” said Khoza.
Importance of good dental hygiene
Experts say gum disease symptoms may
include: bleeding gums during brushing or flossing; swollen, red or tender gums;
loose teeth; gums that recede or move away from the tooth; persistent bad
breath or a bad taste in mouth that doesn’t go away with brushing or flossing.
Luckily Khoza’s daughter had medical aid
cover, and after two weeks on the antibiotics her mouth was healed and clean
She has been taught to brush her teeth twice
a day with a rounded soft-bristled toothbrush.
According to a local dentist the first step
in preventing gum disease in children is to encourage good dental hygiene.
Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day and change their
toothbrush at least once every three months as recommended by dentists.
Khoza said he had been told to take his
child for a dental check-up and professional cleaning once every six months.
Jabulile Nkosi recently took her four children
for the first time to be checked by a professional dentist when the Phelophepa
Healthcare Train visited Ermelo.
Importance of dental check-ups
To help reduce gum disease in children Thabo
Malatjie, a young professional from Mbombela, has started a non-profit
organisation called Keeping Our Kids Clean.
The vision and mission of his organisation is
to make an impact in the lives of the less fortunate and under-privileged
children from Mpumalanga schools by teaching children the importance of hygiene,
especially oral hygiene and distributing toiletries.
“I always knew the importance of going for a
dental check-up at least every six months. But the problem is that this service
doesn’t come cheap. The costs are different from one dentist to another and it
can easily cost between R500 and R700. Because I am self-employed I really
can’t afford to pay, and we don’t have medical aid cover. The challenge with
our public facilities is that you have to make an appointment first which is
usually takes up to two to three weeks,” said Nkosi. – Health-e News.
Image credit: iStock