Sadly, as many as 50% of children may have some form of gum disease.
Along with poor oral hygiene, poor nourishment can contribute to gum inflammation, especially deficiencies of iron, folic acid and vitamin B complex. Certain medications for arthritis, lupus, asthma or epilepsy may cause inflammation. Some systemic and blood diseases can increase the risk for periodontal disease, including juvenile onset diabetes and haemophilia, aplastic anaemia and leukaemia. Mouth breathing is another culprit. And at puberty, hormonal changes can make gum tissue more sensitive and susceptible to disease. Both impacted and emerged wisdom teeth can also be a breeding ground for periodontal disease-causing bacteria. Identifying and managing these risks is an important factor in maintaining oral health.
Of course, since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, maintaining healthy oral biofilm also requires teaching young patients how to practise good mechanical (brushing and cleaning between the teeth) and chemotherapeutic oral hygiene (antiseptic rinses).
Encouraging regular dental checkups and cleaning is also important – starting as soon as baby's first tooth appears.
A microbial analysis is also an important diagnostic tool.
Taking and testing oral biofilm samples provides comprehensive information about oral microflora to facilitate the selection of appropriate treatment.