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20May2015

Know Your Child’s Gum Health Numbers!

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED, as your child sits back to have her gums examined, just what those numbers the hygienist is reciting mean? They’re readings of gum pocket depths in the mouth, and they’re an important part of monitoring your child’s gum health.

Pocket Readings Help Us Measure Inflammation

Pocket depth refers to the gums’ attachment to teeth.

If there’s an infection in the gums, they can become inflamed. The gums slightly pull away from teeth, making that pocket between teeth and gums deeper. The deeper the pockets, the higher the risk of gum disease.

We use a labeled probe to see how deep the pockets go. 1–3 millimeters is a good reading. Any higher than that, and it’s a sign that your child’s gums need some TLC!

Inflammation Leads To Gum Disease

Bacteria harbors in those deep pockets, and can cause more inflammation and detachment, so it’s important to counteract the first signs of encroaching gum disease right away. The early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) are reversible, as we teach your child to refocus care on gums and teeth. However, if the infection progresses, it becomes a more complex condition to care for.

Yes, Your Child’s Gum Health Is Important!

We often think of gum disease as something that only affects us into our old age. However, many children and adolescents show signs of periodontal infection, which should be monitored and guarded against.

Certain factors could make your child much more vulnerable to gum disease, including:

  • braces
  • genetic factors (i.e. parents or grandparents with gum disease)
  • hormonal fluctuations during puberty
  • diabetes and other systemic conditions

Does Your Child Floss?

Be informed about your child’s gum health. Talk to us about the results of our evaluations. And then, help your child guard against gum disease. In addition to regular brushing, and regular cleanings with our team, your child needs to know how to floss correctly in order to protect her gums. Check out the video below:

Thanks for your trust in our practice! Let us know if you ever have questions about your child’s dental health!

Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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