We typically think of gum disease as an issue that only older adults deal with. But children are at a risk for gum disease, too. For them, as with adults, prevention is they key to healthy gums.
The fact is, teenagers and even younger children can develop gum disease or gingivitis, which may require treatment. However, prevention is a much better option; better to head it off and not get it at all!
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused when plaque, a sticky film produced by oral bacteria, builds up on teeth as a result of bacteria not being regularly or sufficiently washed away. As more and more plaque builds up, it hardens to form tartar, which infects the gums and causes them to become red and swollen.
If gum disease isn’t caught early on, it can eventually cause the teeth to loosen and in extreme cases fall out, because it degrades the bone and soft tissue that support the teeth.
It’s not at all common for children to develop this serious form of gum disease, but gingivitis, its less extremely form, is actually quite common in children and even more so in teens.
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented in Children?
Gum disease is easy to prevent in children, and there's no secret to it, either; simple good oral hygiene at home and regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and checkups are all there is to it! You can prevent gum disease the same way you do tooth decay, and indeed, these two oral health issues go hand-in-hand.