Gum disease is very common in children, particularly when they have poor dental hygiene. There are, however children who are predisposed to gum disease because of medical conditions such as Kindler syndrome, diabetes and anemia. Genetic factors can also affect a child’s likelihood to get gum disease.
Children can suffer from the following types of gum disease:
- Chronic gingivitis: This periodontal disease is usually characterized by swollen gums, redness and bleeding. Chronic gingivitis can easily be treated through improved dental hygiene practices like brushing twice daily and flossing once a day.
If gingivitis is not treated, it will advance into more severe periodontal diseases.
- Localized Aggressive periodontitis: Teenagers, even healthy ones, can be affected by aggressive periodontitis. The disease results in deterioration of the alveolar bone (the bone that has tooth sockets). Localized periodontitis also results in notably lower levels of plaque.
- Generalized aggressive periodontitis: At around puberty, the gums might become inflamed and tend to accumulate plaque. Eventually, the teeth will become loose.
Symptoms of gum disease
If your child is suffering from periodontal disease, you’ll notice the following main symptoms:
- Bleeding: This could happen when brushing and flossing or any other time.
- Swelling: If gums appear puffy and bright red in color, this is a sign of gum disease. Healthy gums appear pinkish in color.
- Receding gums: You’ll also notice that the gums have receded and that the roots might be visible.
- Bad breath: Even after brushing, using mouthwash and flossing as recommended by the dentist, you might notice that bad breath in your child still continues.
Why you should ensure proper dental hygiene in your adolescent children
Teenagers go through a lot of hormonal changes. Due to elevated levels of progesterone and estrogen in teens, a lot of blood circulates to the gums which causes them to get more sensitive. As a result of the increased sensitivity, the gums will swell easily when irritated by food or due to plaque buildup.
It’s important to see your dentist for periodontal therapy if the swelling persists. Preventive therapy at this age will prevent loss of tissue and bone.
Your role as a parent, in preventing gum disease in your children.
The most important roles that parents can perform to prevent periodontal disease is:
Detecting gum disease by performing at-home inspections
You should check your children’s mouth for the symptoms discussed above. As your children get older, encourage them to tell you whenever they notice persistence of these symptoms.
Visiting the dentist
Taking your children to the dentist regularly will improve chances of early diagnosis and effective treatment. Children who exhibit symptoms of advanced periodontitis might be suffering from a systemic disease. Your dentist will recommend getting an additional medical evaluation by the relevant physician, to rule out such possibilities.
Imposing good oral care
Teach your children from a young age to practice proper oral hygiene. When you establish a routine of brushing in the morning and before bedtime, flossing and using mouthwash, your children will grow up with these habits.
Be a good role model.
Your children have to see you exercising thorough care of your teeth and mouth.