Gum disease is often thought of as a condition that primarily affects adults; however, chronic gingivitis and advanced periodontal disease are also common in children. Knowing the symptoms and taking simple preventative measures can help ensure that your child has strong teeth and healthy gums throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Types of Gum Disease in Children
Chronic gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It can cause your child’s gums to become red, swollen and prone to bleeding. Gingivitis is easily prevented with an oral health regimen that includes regular brushing and flossing. Semi-annual dental exams and professional cleanings are key to diagnosing and treating gingivitis before it can become more advanced periodontal disease. Aggressive periodontitis is common among teens and young adults and can lead to a significant loss of alveolar bone. The condition is often localized to the incisors and first molars and typically affects individuals who are otherwise healthy and have minimal dental plaque or tartar. If untreated, localized periodontitis can progress to generalized aggressive periodontitis. This severe form of gum disease affects the entire mouth and is characterized by significant gum inflammation, plaque and tartar buildup, and receding gums and loose teeth.
Gum Disease and Puberty
The hormonal changes associated with puberty can increase your child’s risk of developing gum disease. Increased hormones cause increased blood flow to the gums, which can make them more sensitive and prone to irritation from food particles and plaque.
What You Can Do
The best way to prevent gum disease is by encouraging and modeling an oral health regimen that includes regular brushing, flossing and dental visits. All children and teens should receive comprehensive periodontal exams as part of their regular dental visits.
Dr. Ignatowicz and his staff are dedicated to preserving and protecting your family’s oral health. Arrange an appointment for a checkup today.