Gum disease in children – often called “Periodontal Disease” – is becoming increasingly common in younger age groups. This type of bacteria-based infection quickly results in the devastation of gums and all of the supporting components of the teeth. Luckily there are signs and actions you can take.
Gum disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque on the teeth. This plaque is full of bacteria that bonds to the teeth. If it is not removed, it will start to harden and turn into tartar. This is when the damage starts to occur.
What Puts a Child at Risk for Gum Disease?
There are many situations that will increase the risk that a child may develop gum disease. The most common risk factor is poor dental hygiene habits – such as the failure to brush and floss regularly. Additionally, the following may put a kid at risk for periodontal disease:
- Consuming foods that are part of an unhealthy diet.
- Diabetes and various types of systemic and/or autoimmune diseases may increase the risk of gum disease.
- The onset of hormonal changes immediately before and after the onset of puberty may increase the risk that periodontal disease will develop.
- If a child breathes through their mouth a lot, clenches their teeth, or grinds their teeth, they may get gum disease.
- Getting food stuck in-between the teeth, in the gums, using tobacco products, and similar activities may result in gum disease.
- In some cases, genes are responsible for the development of gum disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease in a Kid?
Children may suffer from mild to severe cases of gum disease. In its mildest form – gingivitis – the gums will experience swelling and discoloration. More severe cases result in more severe symptoms.
The following outlines the most common symptoms of gum disease in children:
- The gums may become very sore and swollen.
- When brushing and/or flossing the teeth, bleeding may occur.
- The gums may start to pull away from the teeth. This issue is medically termed, “receding gums” or “receding gum line”.
- The spaces between the teeth may become more open or larger.
- The bite and the alignment of the jaw may become “off”.
- The child may suffer from bad breath in which no resolution may be made.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease in My Child?
It is relatively easy to prevent gum disease in a child. Simply take the following steps:
- Make sure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day with an appropriately-aged toothbrush.
- Your child should be certain to floss at least one time each day.
- You should make certain that your child eats foods that are healthy and nutritious. Those that contain a lot of starch and sugar should be avoided.
In addition to the above-listed steps, you should ensure that your child visits a pediatric dentist on a regular basis.
To help ensure your child has the healthiest mouth possible, contact us today for more information and/or to set up an appointment: