As children grow up, you generally want to give them a little more independence. This includes when they are brushing their teeth. You don't want or need to be peering over their shoulder constantly as they brush. However, you should get in the habit of glancing at the toothpaste they are spitting out every now and then. If you notice any pink in that toothpaste spit, then your child's gums are likely bleeding as they brush, which is a pretty sure sign of gum disease. Here's what you can do about that.
1. Help them brush, floss, and use mouthwash more effectively
Many minor cases of gum disease can be cleared up at home by improving dental hygiene. The fact that your child has developed gum disease is a sign that they have not been taking care of their dental health as well as they should. Talk to your child about proper dental hygiene, and remind them that they need to spend two minutes brushing, twice a day. Ask if they are struggling to use dental floss, and provide them with some flosser picks, which are typically easier for kids to use than standard floss. Also provide them with some antiseptic mouthwash, and ask that they use it after brushing and flossing. In many cases, the symptoms of gum disease will disappear within a week or two once changes are made to dental hygiene habits.
2. Schedule an early cleaning with the dentist
If your child's gum disease does not clear up as you help them improve their hygiene habits, then you want to call the family dentist and schedule a cleaning appointment and checkup. Even if your child is not due for this appointment for a few weeks or months, gum disease is a reason to move the appointment up. Often, a professional cleaning from the dentist will remove the stuck-on tartar that is contributing to gum disease.
3. Talk about antibiotics and root scaling with the dentist
While you are at the dentist for your child's cleaning appointment, ask the dentist whether root scaling or antibiotics may be necessary to treat their gum disease. These treatments are often recommended for moderate to severe gum disease. Antibiotics will kill the bacteria that are causing the gum disease, and root scaling will clean the part of the tooth below the gums, which can't be reached with a toothbrush.
If there's pink in the sink when your child spits, don't ignore it! Help them improve their dental hygiene, and reach out to the family dentist if needed.