What you need to know about periodontal disease and children
When thinking about kids and dental health, a few things probably come to mind. Maybe you imagine dental visits and how stressful they can sometimes be for children. Perhaps you picture sugary candies and cavities. You may even remember the fruity toothpaste and fun toothbrush designs you used as a kid.
What you probably don’t consider is the risk of gum disease. However, while perhaps less exciting than bubblegum mouthwash and less glamorous than cavities, gum disease is relatively common in children.
As such, it’s important to be familiar with the potential types of gum disease, how to recognize them, and what the treatment options are. Check out the guide below for your crash course in children’s gum disease.
Types of Gum Disease in Children
As with any aspect of health, there is always the slimmest possibility of contracting an obscure or rare gum disease, even as a child. Because the odds are against such outcomes, though, we’ve decided to focus on the most common types of periodontal disease seen in children.
As a common form of gum disease in kids, gingivitis is something you should be familiar with and know how to recognize. While it is a mild form of periodontal disease, it can still be very uncomfortable and lead to further issues.
If you notice bleeding gums during regular toothbrushing, you may be seeing a warning sign of gingivitis. Puffy gums are another sign, so be sure to consult your dentist if you notice these symptoms, especially in conjunction.
Thankfully, gingivitis is easy to treat. When caught early, proper oral hygiene can combat gingivitis and reverse its progress. Brushing and flossing regularly and thoroughly is usually all it takes!
Far more serious than gingivitis, aggressive periodontitis can wreak havoc on the alveolar bone, which is what supports the teeth. Kids suffering from this gum disease can see an early loss of teeth, as well as several other significant consequences.
Aggressive periodontitis can be either localized or generalized. While both are serious and should be addressed as quickly as possible, generalized aggressive periodontitis is exceptionally dire, as it can affect all of the teeth in the mouth. Thankfully, it is less common than localized aggressive periodontitis.
If you notice significant plaque buildup under the gums, receding gums, loose teeth, severe inflammation, or any number of other concerning dental problems, see your dentist as soon as possible. Ignoring these warning signs can lead to the progression of the disease and permanent damage.
Prevention and Treatment
The best way to maintain healthy gums is to establish positive dental habits early in life. By teaching your child the importance of oral hygiene and how to properly take care of their teeth and gums, you set them up to successfully avoid gum disease.
This personal approach to maintaining a healthy mouth can be made even more effective by keeping routine dental checkups. Doing so allows your dentist to properly care for your child’s teeth, correct any issues before they progress, and identify warning signs early.
If, however, gum disease does develop in your child, know that it won’t resolve itself. Steps must be taken to address the underlying issues and correct them. From implementing proper dental care at home to scheduling more frequent dental checkups, doing what is necessary at the moment can prevent long-term damage from gum disease.