Did you know that children can get gum disease just like adults? Here, our Ottawa dentists talk about the causes of gum disease in children and how you can prevent it.
Gum Disease in Children
Gum disease can also be called periodontal disease, and it is an infection of the oral cavity that affects the gums, teeth, and in serious cases, the supporting jaw bone.
When it comes to gum disease, gingivitis is the earliest and mildest stage. It is also the form that is most common in children and teenagers.
How People Get Gum Disease
When plaque builds up in the mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene, gum disease occurs, which is a common problem in children. Plaque is a sticky film that develops on the teeth when bacteria isn't removed from the mouth on a routine or sufficient basis. As a result, tartar will form as a consequence of the accumulation of plaque on the teeth, which will then infect the gums, making them red and swollen.
There are also various other causes of gum diseases that children might not be immune to. Mouth breathing, for example, is a cause of chronic dry mouth, which in turn could cause gingivitis if not managed properly. In addition to this, a diet full of starches and sugars won't give the teeth and gums enough nutrients, further increasing the risk of gum disease in children.
Hormonal changes, especially during puberty, can also put a child at a higher risk for gum disease. This is because blood flow is increased due to hormonal imbalances. This imbalance can create sensitive gums and teeth, which are in turn more susceptible to plaque and food particles.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Gum disease can show itself in many ways depending on where it is in progression. While early symptoms are mild in comparison to advanced symptoms, they are still inconvenient and uncomfortable, as well as a potential warning sign that more serious problems may be on the way.
Common early symptoms of gum disease:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums during flossing
- Inflamed or swollen gums
If gum disease goes without treatment it will eventually result in more serious symptoms.
These are the symptoms of advanced gum disease:
- Sensitive teeth
- Periodontal pockets (space between the gums and teeth)
- Receding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth (which may eventually fall out)
Ways to Prevent Gum Disease in Children
There are a few steps children and adults can take to prevent gum disease. You probably won't be surprised to hear that maintaining good oral hygiene is key in preventing the development of gum disease.
An effective oral hygiene routine at home, as well as regular dental visits for cleanings and examinations, are essential components of good oral health.