Dr. Steven Yuan, dentist in Bloomingdale, shares tips for preventing gingivitis in teenagers–one of the age groups most vulnerable to poor oral health.
Sunny beaches, warm weather, and sports: with the exciting opportunity to catch up on outdoor activities during the spring, dental hygiene can fall by the wayside for some teenagers. The 13-17 year old age group is particularly vulnerable to gingivitis due to increased sugar consumption and decreased oral care maintenance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about one in four teenagers drink soda daily, and a Gallup poll reports that only 13% of teenagers floss their teeth daily. Dr. Steven Yuan, Bloomingdale dentist, recommends that parents remind their teenage children to maintain proper dental hygiene to prevent gingivitis-causing bacteria and other dental complications.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a mild, inflammatory gum disease that can cause the gums to become irritated and swollen. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into an advanced form of gum disease, damaging the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. Advanced periodontal disease can cause irreversible damage such as loose teeth and receding gums; periodontitis has also been linked to heart disease and high or low blood sugar levels. It is imperative to treat gum disease at its earliest stages, when treatment is simple and inexpensive, than to wait until it advances to the point that complicated surgical procedures are necessary.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
• Swollen, irritated gums
• Tender, sensitive gums
• Gums have a red appearance
• Bleeding gums when flossing or brushing teeth
Gingivitis Prevention in Teens
Lack of proper oral hygiene habits in teens is often due to stress or fatigue, so parents should encourage their teenagers to manage stress and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Also, teenagers should be reminded that a proper brushing and flossing session will only take a few minutes—two for brushing and one for flossing. Some additional gingivitis prevention tips for teens include:
• Don’t brush too roughly. Teenagers should use soft-bristled toothbrushes and brush using short, gentle motions. The toothbrush should be angled at 45 degrees to better reach all tooth surfaces.
• Choose water over sugary drinks. A single can of soda may contain as much as 39 grams of sugar. Fruit juices don’t fare much better—many fruit juices have at least 25 grams of sugar in one serving. Sugar aids in the growth of plaque, which becomes more and more difficult to remove as it grows in thickness and hardness.
• Floss your teeth at least once a day (no exceptions!). Flossing helps keep plaque at bay and cleans tooth surfaces that your toothbrush cannot reach. It is advised to floss before bed to remove debris buildup from earlier in the day. You should use quality floss that “glides” in between your teeth rather than “snapping.” Some new products, such as air flossers or water flossers, may also help make flossing a little more fun.
• Visit your dentist every six months. A professional dental cleaning removes hardened, gingivitis-causing plaque. Once the cleaning is completed, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to make sure they are free of cavities and diseases.
• Look for the word “antigingivitis” on the label of your toothpaste. Antigingivitis toothpastes are specifically designed to fight gingivitis-causing bacteria on the surfaces of your teeth.
Clue Dental Marketing manages public relations for Dr. Steven Yuan, Bloomingdale dentist and owner of Aesthetic Dental LLC (http://www.drstevenyuan.com). Dr. Yuan is an experienced dentist in Bloomingdale who provides orthodontic treatment, teeth whitening in Bloomingdale, dental implant restoration, veneers, root canal therapy, TMJ headache treatment, Invisalign, and other family-friendly dental services.