If your child has missing teeth, you may be wondering if he or she is an ideal candidate for dental implants. The quick answer is “no.” Because children are still growing rapidly, their jaws will change quite a bit, and they wouldn’t be able to support an implant. Other appliances can be used for the time being while a child waits for a dental implant.

So when is the best time to get an implant? Pediatric dentist Joe Renzi says that the earliest your kids could get an implant would be in their late teens. For girls, that would be around the age of sixteen or seventeen; and since boys usually develop a little more slowly, they would need to get them even later.

Dental implants are a wonderful blessing once your children?are old enough to receive them. Most children that need these implants have suffered from an accident or sports injury. However, some children may have lost their teeth due to issues that were easily preventable. Two issues that face the growing generation are rising rates of obesity and the prevalence of e-cigarettes. Both of these issues can contribute to poor gum structures, which in turn can contribute to missing teeth!

DrBicuspid.com related a startling study about just how much of an impact obesity has on oral health:

Study finds 99% of obese kids have inflamed gums

The vast majority of overweight and obese children show signs of gingivitis, according to a study in?Diabetes Care. While the study was relatively small, the authors highlight the need for a multidisciplinary approach to care for children with excess body fat. Researchers from Argentina and California wanted to see if excess body fat in children was tied to a number of inflammatory conditions. They hypothesized that overweight and obese kids may also have periodontal disease because of the inflammatory processes of other diseases associated with obesity, such as insulin resistance (Diabetes Care, October 14, 2016).
“Obesity, considered a global epidemic by the World Health Organization, represents one of the most serious health problems in both children and adults,” wrote the authors, led by Patricia Lucia Casavalle. “In Argentina, [obesity] and [overweight] prevalence in childhood and adolescence has increased in the last decades to 34.6% of school children.”
Almost 99% of obese children and 85% of overweight children had at least some gingival inflammation. The researchers also found a statistically significant correlation between children with gingivitis and insulin resistance, a condition in which cells don’t respond properly to glucose.?Read full article here . . .

This study does need to be taken with a grain of salt. The sample size was small and included children in the same region. However, researchers have known for years that conditions that cause chronic inflammation can damage people’s gums. And this inflammation not only leads to painful periodontal diseases, but to tooth loss.

While you don’t want to create an atmosphere that causes your children to have unhealthy obsessions about their weight, you should encourage good eating habits and exercise. Obesity is such a reversible issue, so if you take it seriously, your child will be able to prevent a number of negative health problems–not just tooth loss.

As previously mentioned, vaping started in the mid-2000s and has become more popular with teens instead of cigarettes. In fact, the New York Times says that the usage in high school–and even middle school–tripled between 2013 and 2014 according to federal research! Whether it’s due to peer pressure or the appeal of the new technology, vaping is becoming more and more accessible to impressionable teens. And as you can imagine, this habit is detrimental in a number of ways. Robert Preidt shines some light on just how bad these e-cigs are . . .

E-Cigarettes Not Good to Gums, Study Finds

“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins,” said study leader Irfan Rahman. These, in turn, “aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” explained Rahman, a professor of environmental medicine in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“How much and how often someone is smoking e-cigarettes will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity,” Rahman added in a university news release.
The researchers also found that the flavoring chemicals used in e-cigarettes play a role in damaging cells in the mouth . . . “We learned that the flavorings — some more than others — made the damage to the cells even worse,” said study co-author Fawad Javed. “It’s important to remember that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is known to contribute to gum disease,” added Javed, a postdoctoral resident at the university’s Institute for Oral Health. Read full article here . . .

As you can see, kids would be caught in a horrible situation if their excess weight or smoking habits caused tooth loss. Even though they would greatly need to replace their teeth with dental implants, they may not be able to right away due to their age.