As parents, you want to make sure your children are physically and emotionally in good health. Teaching your kids to brush and floss early on help prevent cavities in the future. The foods and drinks your kids eat can cause plaque and bacteria to grow in their mouth, on their teeth and in the gums. When plaque is not adequately removed from the gumline, bacterial growth can lead to gum disease, also called periodontal disease.
Poor oral hygiene isn’t the only culprit, though. Even if your children practice great oral hygiene, they could still develop gum disease.
Causes of pediatric periodontal disease
Anyone who doesn’t brush and floss regularly is at risk of developing gum disease, but certain medical, environmental, and other factors can increase the risk. Genetics, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, medications and hormonal changes are all factors that cause gums to grow over the teeth. Teeth grinding and mouth breathing, which dries out the gums, encourages bacterial growth. Poor nutrition is also a major contributor to gum disease.
Signs your child may have gum disease
Most children who develop gum disease are diagnosed with gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Signs to look for include red, swollen and sore gums. Other symptoms of gum disease include bleeding when brushing or flossing, receding gums, or in extreme cases, visible pus between the teeth and gums. An older child who has already lost their baby teeth might experience loose or separating adult teeth if they have gum disease. Other symptoms include a change in bite or alignment and persistent bad breath.
When should your child see a dentist?
According to the American Dental Association, you should schedule your child’s first visit within 6 months of the first tooth appearing and no later than their first birthday. With regular checkups, your dentist can diagnose and provide a treatment plan for your child’s periodontal disease.
Treatment for gum disease in children
Treatment for periodontal disease depends on how severe it is, as well as your child’s age, overall health, and specific symptoms. In the early stages of the disease, treatment usually involves a deep cleaning to remove the plaque, hardened tartar underneath the gums, and any infected tissue. Antibiotic medicine might also be used, either in a pill form or directly applied to the pockets under the gums. Advanced periodontal disease sometimes requires gum surgery, which involves cleaning under the gums and reshaping or replacing damaged tissue.
How can periodontal disease be prevented?
Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day are the easiest ways to prevent gum disease for both children and adults, and it’s particularly important to ensure that children use a toothbrush that fits their age and size. Regular checkups to the dentist can help detect gum disease early on when treatment is the easiest. Also eating healthy foods and limiting sugary and starchy foods will improve both oral health and overall health.
Treatments in Irvine, CA
If your or your child is showing symptoms of periodontal disease, schedule an appointment today. The sooner it’s treated, the better. At Sedation and Implant Dentistry Irvine, our staff is experienced in treating periodontal disease along with various other dental issues. Give us a call at (949) 424-5137.