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Periodontal Disease is most frequently associated with adults and most people believe that periodontal disease as well as other major dental issues are strictly an adult problem.

Periodontal Disease Marielaina Perrone DDS

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene To Keep Away Periodontal Disease

This is simply not the case. Children and adolescents are also at risk of developing periodontal disease and associated health problems. When children have periodontal disease, signs and symptoms include bleeding gums, especially when brushing, swelling of gums, red and tender gums, receding gums, bone loss, and persistent bad breath.

Factors That Put Children at Risk for Developing Periodontal Disease

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease rarely occurs in young kids and is uncommon in teenagers. Hygiene, genetics, hormones, medications, and disease put you at greater risk for developing periodontal disease. The most frequent type of periodontal disease seen in children is gingivitis, which is the earliest stage (and only stage that is reversible) of periodontitis. Without dental treatment, gingivitis can and will progress to periodontal disease. While uncommon, there are certain factors that increase the risk of children developing  juvenile periodontal disease. Juvenile periodontits affects the first permanent molars and incisors.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors help determine whether children are at risk for developing periodontal disease. Research studies have shown that genetic factors increase the risk of developing periodontal health problems in children. Children of parents with periodontal disease have an increased risk of having the periodontal disease bacteria that can lead to increased gum infections. If one or both parents or a member of the family has or has had some form of periodontal disease, it is strongly recommended that these parents ensure their kids practice proper dental hygiene daily and visit the dentist regularly.

Teenagers – Effect Of Hormonal Changes

The risk of developing periodontal disease increases as children approach puberty. Teenagers experience increases in hormonal levels, which can promote hormonal periodontal disease. Hormones such as progesterone increase blood circulation to the gums making the tissue even more sensitive and easily irritated by plaque and bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Most teenagers also lack the motivation to practice proper dental care due to the pressure of growing up and the effect of these hormones. This increases the risk of periodontal disease such as ANUG (acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis) even more. Flaming red tissue, bleeding ulcerated tissue, pain, and gum recession are characteristic of ANUG. It is essential for adolescents to take good care of their teeth and visit the dentist regularly for periodontal evaluations.

Periodontal Disease Marielaina Perrone DDSPoor Dental Hygiene Maintenance

Poor dental hygiene maintenance puts children at increased risk of developing periodontal disease. When children do not take good care of their teeth and gums, plaque builds up and bacteria breaks it down causing periodontal health problems. Teeth clenching and grinding increases the risk of periodontal disease in children. The best way to prevent periodontal disease in children and reduce the risk is to teach good dental care habits early in their lives. Since children copy their parents’ habits, so parents should also take proper care of their teeth.

 Diseases and medications that Can  Effect Periodontal Disease

-Diabetes, poor healing

-Asthma ( inhalers can cause oral tissue damage)

-Cancer and cancer therapies(radiation and chemotherapy can cause severe damage to oral tissues)

-autoimmune disease , poor healing

-some medications can cause tissue overgrowth, such as the anti-seizure medication, dilantin.

Forms Of Pediatric Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the and mildest stage of periodontal disease. It is the most common form of gum disease in children and adolescents. Chronic gingivitis may affect children and teens causing gums to swell, redden and bleed easily.  Professional treatment and proper dental care is the way to treat and prevent this gum condition. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress and cause further damage  to oral tissues.

Aggressive (Juvenile) periodontal disease is not common in children and adolescents, sometimes it can develop even in healthy children. It mostly affects the visible molarsPeriodontal Disease Marielaina Perrone DDS and incisors, and causes loss of the bone supporting the teeth without plaque or calculus formation.

Generalized aggressive periodontal disease is rare in children but less so in teens. This form of periodontal disease has serious symptoms including gum inflammation, calculus, plaque and loose teeth.

Advanced gum disease that contributes to systematic health conditions may also occur in children and teenagers. This type of periodontal disease is especially common in children with Down syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, Kinder Syndrome, and Papillon-Lefevre syndrome.

Since kids are at risk of developing periodontal health problems just like adults, it is important for parents to take good care of their children’s teeth and gums and instill in them a lifetime habit of proper dental care including brushing and flossing.

Understanding The Risks Can Help You To Help Your Child Fight Periodontal Disease

When kids start early, they will continue practicing proper oral care, hopefully carrying that habit into adulthood.  It is essential for parents to ensure their children have regular dental checkups, periodontal health evaluations and professional cleaning. If a parent or member of the family has gum disease, it is especially important that other family members undergo a professional gum evaluation and take serious care and consideration of their teeth and gums.

Medications are any chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, or prevention of disease. It can also be used as a supplement to enhance a person’s physical or mental well being.

Over the course of our lives we will all, most likely, take some form of medication. The medications can just be a simple over the counter pain reliever or something prescribed by your physician for a more serious medical condition. Did you know many of these medications also affect your oral health?

Prescribed and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can all cause oral health issues. Some of these issues include, dry mouth, inflammation, overgrowth of the gums, changes in taste and bone loss.

Oral Health Side Effects of Medications

Some of the most common oral health side effects include:

1) Xerostomia or Dry Mouth. Medications that can cause dry mouth by decreasing salivary flow include: antihistamines, decongestants,  high blood pressure medications, medicine for Parkinson’s disease, pain medication, and antidepressants. There are hundreds of medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. Xerostomia is quite common,and needs to be monitored for your oral health to be maintained. Without proper salivary flow, you will be more likely to develop more tooth cavities and periodontal infections.

Tips to Combat Dry Mouth

-Drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your mouth wet and moist. This will also help to rinse your mouth throughout the day to minimize tooth decay and bacteria buildup.

-Stop using or cut down on caffeinated drinks, sugary beverages, alcohol, and tobacco. All of these contribute to dry mouth.

-Chew gum to promote salivary production. Recommend a sugarless gum or one with xylitol.

-Avoid salty and spicy foods. This can not only dry you out further but cause some discomfort as you are unable to wash the spices away as quickly without the proper amount of saliva.

-Use a humidifier at bedtime. Many people feel this helps to keep their mouths moist through the night.  Works well for mouth breathers.

-Use an artificial saliva rinse, and dry mouth specific products. These will allow you to keep your mouth moist and avoid the problems mentioned above. Biotene is a good example of such products.

2) Abnormal bleeding. Medications known as blood thinners can cause prolonged bleeding of tissues in your mouth. These include aspirin and anticoagulants (such as Heparin). These medications work by lowering the ability of the blood to form clots. They are helpful in preventing heart attacks and strokes but they can cause excessive bleeding especially during any type of oral surgery, or even after a deep cleaning. It is therefore very important to tell your doctor or dentist if you are taking this type of medications.

3) Change in taste. Many drugs can give you a metallic or bitter taste. While others can totally change the way you perceive taste of different foods. Some good examples of these medicines are as follows:

-Heart medications. Such as beta blockers or calcium channel blockers.

-Flagyl (metronidazole). This is an antibiotic.

-Nicotine skin patches. These patches are used for people who want to quit smoking.

The only option for these patients usually is to deal with the side effects of the medication or ask your physician if there is some other medication that can work in its place.

4) Inflammation, gum overgrowth, mouth sores, or changes in color of the soft tissues in your mouth. These can include blood pressure medications, immunosuppressive drugs, oral contraceptives, and some chemotherapy drugs. If you are having issues with these drugs let your dentist know. You may need to increase your oral hygiene regimen to maintain a healthy mouth.

5) Tooth Cavities. Various medications contain sugar. Many children’s medications have a high amount of sugar in them to improve taste. Too much sugar as we know can lead to tooth cavities. Sugar can also be found in cough drops, antacid tablets, anti fungal lozenges, and many vitamins.

Tips to help lower risk of tooth decay from medications:

-Take the medications at mealtimes, not at bedtime.

-Drink water after taking medications.

-Make you or your children brush or chew sugarless (or xylitol) gum after taking the medication.

-Visit your dentist regularly for dental care.

6) Bone loss. Medications such as corticosteroids (like prednisone) and anti-epilepsy drugs can lead to bone loss. Medications used in the treatment of osteoporosis (bisphosphanates) can lead to a rare condition called osteonecrosis of the jawbone. This results in destruction of the bone. Symptoms can include painful, inflamed gums, loos teeth, jaw numbness, fluid in the gums or jaw, and bone that becomes exposed.

If you are taking medications for osteoporosis be sure to tell your dentist. The dentist may be able to prescribe you an antibiotic or non steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID) to slow your bone loss.

7) Thrush, or an oral yeast infection. Thrush is caused by a fungus (Candida) and shows up in the mouth as white and red lesions on the tongue and/or surrounding tissues. Taking antibiotics, steroids, or going through chemotherapy can cause thrush. The general course of attack in dentistry is to recommend anti fungal mouthwashes or lozenges. If that does not work, then a stronger anti fungal medication will be needed.

Bottom Line on Medications and Your Oral Health

All of the medications listed above generally serve a greater purpose for the maintenance of your overall health. Therefore these side effects from medications must be dealt with, as we cannot just stop taking these medications. This is why it is so important to be open and honest to all your physicians and dentists letting them know everything you are taking. Your treatment may need to be altered or monitored closely by your dentist. You may not realize the impact your specific medications may have on your oral condition, but your caretakers do.