Although many people think of gum disease as a condition that only affects adults, teenagers and even younger children can be highly susceptible to gum disease (or its milder form, gingivitis). At Smile Town Dentistry in North Delta, we provide gum disease prevention and therapy for children.
What is Gum Disease?
When food debris and bacteria build up on the teeth, a sticky film called plaque begins to form. The plaque, if not removed, eventually hardens and forms tartar, all while even more plaque continues to build up. When they're not cleaned away, the tartar and plaque infect the gums, and they become red, sore and swollen. This is called gum disease.
Gum disease worsens significantly if left untreated. Over time, it causes gums to bleed during brushing and flossing, chronic bad breath, and loosening teeth. The gums will eventually form pockets, in which the plaque and bacteria will continue to develop. Teeth may even loosen enough to fall out.
Fortunately, most kids don't ever develop the serious gum disease described above. However, they can develop its milder form, called gingivitis.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Most of the time, gum disease is the result of improper oral hygiene habits combined with poor dietary choices.
Teenagers can be more susceptible to gum disease because of the hormonal changes they go through during puberty. These changes cause increased blood flow to the gums, which makes them more sensitive to plaque, food particles, and irritation.
Gum Disease Therapy & Prevention
For the prevention and treatment of gum disease, it's important to encourage your child to maintain good oral hygiene habits. That means twice-daily brushing and flossing , and regular dental appointments for check ups and cleanings.
If your child has developed gingivitis or gum disease, the above dental health care routines and habits will both help to cure it, and prevent it from reoccurring.
To reduce your child's risk of gum disease, you should also limit sugary foods as much as possible.
If the gum disease is at the point that a healthy diet and good oral hygiene can't cure it, then treatment may include deep cleaning at the dentist's office, medications, oral rinses, antibiotics, and in the most severe cases, surgery.
Download the FREE Smile Town Children's Activity Book.
A great resource to help get your kids ready – and excited – about visiting the dentist.
Enter your email address below to get the FREE activity book and to receive our latest news and updates.