Help Your Family Maintain Good Oral Health

gum disease ManhattanMany patients may not realize it, but members of the same family may face an increased risk for gum disease due to a number of factors, some of which are hereditary and some of which aren’t.

If one member of a family has gum disease, it’s wise for the others to be screened for the condition as well. Early detection of periodontal disease is associated with better outcomes and less invasive treatments.

Some research suggests that family members may face a common risk of gum disease because they share the same oral bacteria that cause gum disease. Even something as simple as eating from the same dinner plate can lead to such an exchange of bacteria.

At the same time, there is also evidence that genetic factors can influence a person’s susceptibility to periodontal disease.

Older family members can also model good (or bad!) oral hygiene habits to the younger ones and influence the likelihood that gum disease will develop. Parents and older siblings should be sure to use good technique when brushing and flossing and make their oral hygiene routines a daily occurrence.

Parents should monitor children’s routines and their diets to reduce the risk factors that can lead to inflammation of the gums. Make sure children are drinking the right drinks, like fluoridated water and milk that provides calcium for strong teeth. Try to steer them clear of sugary sodas and juices. It’s also important to monitor teenagers for symptoms of periodontal disease, as hormonal changes associated with puberty can increase an adolescent’s risk for developing this condition.

Although parents may think that gum disease isn’t a concern for their little ones, this oral disease can have negative consequences for younger patients in addition to adults. In fact, gingivitis—the earliest stage of gum disease—is highly prevalent among children and teens. Fortunately, gingivitis usually can be addressed with a professional dental cleaning.

If you don’t get treatment for the milder forms of periodontal disease, the condition will progress and you may experience more severe outcomes that can require a periodontist to perform surgery to correct. End-stage periodontal disease can cause tooth and bone loss, which would necessitate extensive interventions to address.

Periodontal disease can become a family problem if one member has developed this condition. Be aware of the symptoms, like bleeding, red or swollen gums and schedule an evaluation with one of our skilled periodontist quickly for a prompt diagnosis and treatment.

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