July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. You might be asking, what does this have to do with dentistry or oral health. As you may be aware, your overall oral health can be affected by any underlying illnesses or health issues, as well as the medication you may be taking. And, vise versa. Bad oral health could lead to illnesses such as heart disease. Nearly 300,000 children in the United States are affected by juvenile arthritis.
First, periodontal disease affects the tissue and gums that surround your teeth. If you or your child has been diagnosed with gingivitis and it goes untreated, it will progress into periodontal disease which is non-reversible. Periodontal disease causes your gums and tissue to become inflamed. It can also cause your gums to recede which will start to deteriorate the bone that holds your teeth in place. This will eventually lead to tooth loss. If you or your child notices bleeding, receding gums, loose teeth, or any pockets surrounding the tooth, it is important to schedule a periodontal disease appointment at Mountainview Periodontics in our Parker office or Periodontics of Cherry Creek office in Glendale today.
Second, arthritis affects the joints. Your child could be experiencing pain and stiffness in their hands or the jaw, which could cause them to not brush or floss as good as they should. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene is important, especially for kids with Juvenile Arthritis. To ensure proper brushing, you could find a toothbrush with a wider handle which will make it easier to hold. Or, you could always go with an electric toothbrush. These are easy to hold, don’t require much movement or pressure, and most are timed which allows your child to brush their teeth for 2 minutes as it is recommended.
Lastly, patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) have an increased chance of periodontal disease, despite practicing ideal oral hygiene, according to a study published in Pediatric Rheumatology. According to this study, they used 85 patients with JIA, 62 dental patients, and 11 healthy child controls. JIA patients overall had significantly more gingival inflammation compared to dental patients, as evidenced by bleeding on probing of the gingiva, the most specific sign of active inflammation.
Since it is Juvenile Arthritis month, we want to stress the importance of good oral hygiene. Remember to brush twice a day and floss once a day. Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid sugary drinks and food. And most importantly, be sure to visit our dental offices twice a year. Schedule your appointment, today!