Gum Disease in Children

Gum Disease in Kids
Posted on 04/17/2023
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Gum disease is a condition that begins in the gums and eventually affects your teeth. The disease is quite common in children in the form of gingivitis. Here is what you need to know about gum disease in children.

Types of Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Anybody, including children, can develop gum disease because of the bacteria that naturally exist in the mouth. The bacteria will mix with mucus, saliva, and food particles in the mouth to create a substance called plaque. Frequent flossing and brushing can remove the sticky bacteria film before it can accumulate on your teeth and gum line.

If you don't get rid of the plaque, your child will develop the earliest form of gum disease called gingivitis. At this stage, the condition is reversible if your child visits a dentist as soon as possible and develops better oral hygiene. Failure to treat gingivitis will cause gum disease to mutate into periodontitis. Gum disease at this stage can only be reversed through professional treatments.

Causes and Risk Factors

Various factors cause or increase the risk of your child developing gum disease. Here are some of those factors.

  • Smoking. Teenagers and children who use tobacco products are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. 
  • Dry mouth. Saliva helps to keep the mouth wet and prevents gum disease. Various factors can interfere with the production of saliva in your mouth.
  • Poor diet. Processed and sugary foods cause the accumulation of dental plaque or calculus on the teeth. Failure to clean, floss, or brush your teeth will eventually lead to gum disease.

Other common causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, diabetes, hormonal changes, systemic diseases, and genetics.

Symptoms and Signs of Gum Disease

Here are common symptoms of gum disease in children:

  • Tender, swollen, receding, and red gums 
  • Bleeding during flossing or brushing
  • Loose or separated teeth 
  • Changes in jaw and bite alignment 
  • Pus between gums and teeth

The symptoms and signs vary from one child to another and may be signs of other medical conditions. Therefore, you should consult your periodontist or dentist before beginning treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once you suspect that your child has gum disease, schedule a visit to the dentist. The dentist will examine your child's mouth for signs of tartar and plaque buildup. The dentist might also measure the spaces between the teeth and gum to indicate if they are deeper. Other ways to diagnose gum disease are to do x-rays or review the child's medical history.

A dentist or a periodontist can treat gum disease. The treatment might involve non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing. The dentist can also recommend oral antibiotics to control bacterial infection.

Surgical treatments for advanced periodontitis include tissue-stimulating proteins, guided tissue regeneration, bone grafting, soft tissue grafts, and flap surgery. Some of the methods involve the periodontist making cuts into the gums to remove tissues from the gums. The dentist can also reshape the gum tissue and might install artificial or donated material to stimulate the growth of natural bone.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is to prevent the development of gum disease in the first place. Teach your child to brush and floss their teeth regularly. You can also schedule frequent deep cleaning sessions with a dentist.

Your child's dental health is as important as their overall well-being. Treasured Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, LTD, provides comprehensive and efficient treatment in a friendly dental office. Our staff can also help you with scheduling appointments, insurance coordination, and financial arrangements. Contact us to know how we can help your child's dental health. 

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