Periodontal disease in children – is a serious bacterial infection. It destroys the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It is also called gum disease. The main cause of periodontal disease is the buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that sticks to the teeth. If plaque isn’t removed, it hardens and is then called calculus or tartar. Poor oral hygiene habits allow plaque to grow in the mouth.
What raises your child’s risk for gum disease?
- Certain genes
- Food stuck in the gums
- Mouth breathing, which may lead to severe drying of the gums and teeth in the front of the mouth
- Poor diet
- Smoking and using smokeless tobacco
- Autoimmune or systemic diseases
- Hormonal changes in the body, such as during puberty
- Repeated clenching or grinding of the teeth that your child can’t control (bruxism)
- Certain medicines that can cause an overgrowth of the gums
Types of gum disease in children:
- Chronic gingivitis – is common in children. It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.
- Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. It is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. Aggressive periodontitis characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone.
- Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.
Signs of periodontal disease in children:
- Bleeding gums during tooth brushing, flossing or any other time
- Puffiness – swollen and bright red gums
- Ressession – gums that have receded away from the teeth, sometimes exposing the roots
- Bad breath – constant bad breath that does not clear up with brushing and flossing.
If your child is diagnosed with gum disease her treatment may consist one or combination if the following:
- Good dental care. Regular cleanings by a dentist can help fight gingivitis. Daily brush and floss.
- Deep cleaning. This treatment can help remove the plaque and plaque under the gum and infected tissue in the first stages of the disease.
- Medicine. Antibiotic medicine may be put in the periodontal pockets. Or it may be given in pill form.
- Surgery. When gum disease is advanced, the infected areas under the gums need to be cleaned. The tissues may also be reshaped or replaced.
What to do to prevent gum disease in your child:
>Establish good dental hygiene habits early. When your child is one year old, you can begin to use a toothpaste. When the gaps between your child’s teeth close, it’s important to start flossing.
>Be a good role model by keeping good dental hygiene routines yourself.
>See the dentist regularly for family checkups, periodontal evaluations and cleanings.
>Check your child’s mouth for the signs of periodontal disease, including bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.
If you suspect that your child has or may be developing periodontal disease, don’t wait! Gum disease is best dealt with in its early stages making early diagnosis vital for successful treatment. Schedule your pediatrics dentist consultation with Dr. Lisi at Kids Pediatrics Dentistry in Allen. We will evaluate your child’s oral health, and provide them with a treatment plan that will help combat gum disease.