CHILDRENS PROBLEMS: THE GUMS

A lot of dental work is needed not specifically because of the teeth but due to poor health of the gums. The gums are a specialized, tough mucus membrane that covers the jaw bone and lower aspects of the teeth. Maintenance of the integrity of the gums is essential to avoid tooth decay and jaw bone problems.

CARE OF THE GUMS

Infections of the gum are often difficult to treat because the bacteria can find their way into deep recesses around the tooth root, well-protected from the mouth’s natural antibodies found in the saliva and also from oxygen, which is often detrimental to bacterial growth.

Plaque is a thin transparent film of bacteria on the surface of the teeth that live comfortably despite the body’s natural defence mechanisms and slowly but surely eat into the gum tissue. It is this plaque that needs to be destroyed.

RECOMMENDATIONS

As early as possible, teach your child to brush the teeth with a circular motion, ensuring that the bristles travel between the teeth.

The toothbrush should be as hard as the gums will accept without bleeding.

Toothpaste (without fluoride) or sodium bicarbonate can be used as a tooth cleanser, although the brushing action with lightly-salted water is the most beneficial aspect of gum care. ‘ Avoid refined sugars or ensure teeth brushing and gum cleaning (the same thing) after any sweet meal. Natural sugars do not have the same bacterial support, as is noticed by the healthy teeth in Caribbean children whose sweeteners come from raw cane rather than refined sugar. < Regular mouthwashes with salt water being forced between the teeth is highly recommended.

Avoid the use of a mouthwash. The antibacterial action kills the good bugs as effectively as it kills the bad bugs and has little effect on the hard barrier of protection of the plaque. The outcome is the loss of good bacteria rather than the bad.

Ensure regular chewing of raw vegetables or hard fruit, which encourages blood flow into the gums.

Chewing on liquorice sticks (fresh, not sweetened) is most beneficial.

Regular flossing between the teeth with cord or a wooden stick is recommended.

The gums, like all body tissues, are dependent upon good nutritional and vitamin intake. The gums are particularly sensitive to vitamin C deficiency.

Bleeding gums

Gums bleed due to overenthusiastic brushing, poor hygiene due to not cleaning the teeth and gums, deficiencies and diseases such as diabetes, those effecting blood clotting, and other rarer conditions. The term gingivitis is given to gums that are inflamed, spongy and tend to bleed easily.

RECOMMENDATIONS

See Care of gums.

Consult a complementary medical practitioner or nutritionist to ensure that you are not missing any vital nutrients.

It may be necessary to investigate this through blood, sweat or hair analysis.

Ensure that your toothbrush is neither too hard nor too soft.

Persisting bleeding of the gums, despite the above measures, requires investigations by your GP or a holistic-minded dentist.

Use a toothpaste with homeopathic Arnica or Calendula twice a day. Use this as a mouthwash and forcibly push this through the teeth.

Gingivitis

The medical term for inflammation of the gums. For treatment .

Gum infections

Pockets of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses can settle deep in the gums and cause problems both to the oral cavity and, if swallowed or absorbed into the blood stream, throughout the body. Regular review by your dentist is essential to avoid this.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Gentle brushing around the area and dental flossing of the gap above the infection (very gently) in association with a salt water mouthwash will often clear up gum infections.

Toothpaste containing myrrh, cloves, cinnamon and bee propolis (avoid if you have allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings) can be curative. If the toothpaste is not available, application of the essential oils can be useful in both clearing the infection and reducing the pain. Painful infections are particularly relieved by clove oil.

Suitable doses of vitamin C, zinc and magnesium should all be taken with any gum infection.

The remedies Hepar sulphuris calcarium, Belladonna and Calcarea fluorica should all be reviewed.

See Care of the gums.

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