Though gum disease is mainly considered an adult problem, children can also be affected by mild or severe gum disease. Gum disease not only impacts a person’s gums, but also their tissues, bones, and teeth. In its mildest stage, called gingivitis, gums can be red, sore and may bleed. The condition is caused by an accumulation of plaque on the teeth and gums. Plaque is a carrier for harmful bacteria that can compromise overall oral health.
If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, a more threatening form of the disease that can damage the bones that support the roots of teeth. When a person has periodontal disease, the teeth can loosen and even fall out. As children grow and hormones fluctuate, circulation to the gums surges and may cause increased sensitivity, swelling and tenderness.
Gum disease can be prevented by helping children establish thorough oral hygiene skills. Children should be brushing their teeth at least two times each day, and flossing at bedtime. Young children benefit from observing others with good oral care habits. At Rolling Hills Dentistry, we are vigilant about checking for signs of gingivitis, plaque buildup, gum recession and bone health. Early detection and diagnosis is imperative for the best outcome and to set a child up for good oral health. Discovering gum disease in its early stages is essential to avoid further damage. If gum disease is suspected, some basic symptoms to look for include:
- Swollen, puffy, red gums
- Bleeding when brushing and/or flossing
- Chronic bad breath from infection
- Root exposure from receding gums
Just as adults, children should follow a bi-annual cleaning and examination schedule. Proper daily brushing and flossing habits should be encouraged and established early in order to keep the gums healthy and strong.
If you believe gum disease is developing in your child, Dr. Winokur, DMD can help. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that our team can conduct a complete dental examination, a thorough cleaning, and determine custom treatment options.
Posted on Behalf of Rolling Hills Dentistry