What is gum disease?
Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is an infection of the oral cavity that can affect the gums, teeth, and the supporting jaw bone.
The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis and it is the most common form among children and teenagers.
What can cause gum disease?
When plaque builds up in the mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene, gum disease occurs, which is a common problem in children. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth when bacteria is not removed from the mouth on a regular or sufficient basis. Tartar will form as a result of the accumulation of plaque on the teeth, which will then infect the gums, causing them to become red and swollen.
There are also some other causes of gum diseases in children. Mouth breathing, for example, is a cause of chronic dry mouth, which could result in gingivitis if it isn't properly addressed. Further, a diet full of starches and sugars won't provide enough nutrients to the gums and teeth, further increasing the risk of gum disease in children.
Especially throughout puberty, hormonal changes can also increase your child's risk for gum disease. This is because blood flow is increased due to hormonal imbalances. This imbalance can create sensitive gums and teeth, which are in turn more susceptible to plaque and food particles.
What are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?
Gum disease can manifest itself in a variety of ways depending on where it is in its progression. While early symptoms are mild in comparison to advanced symptoms, they are still inconvenient and uncomfortable, as well as a warning sign of potentially more serious problems to come.
Early symptoms of gum disease generally include:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums during flossing
- Inflamed or swollen gums
If gum disease is allowed to progress unchecked and untreated, it will eventually manifest itself in more severe symptoms.
Advanced symptoms of gum disease typically consist of:
- Sensitive teeth
- Painful chewing
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth (which may eventually fall out)
- Periodontal pockets (space between the gums and teeth)
How to Prevent Gum Disease in Kids
Gum disease can be prevented in both children and adults with a few simple steps. It probably won't come as a surprise to learn that maintaining good oral hygiene is essential in preventing gum disease from developing in the first place!
An effective oral hygiene routine at home, as well as regular dental visits for cleanings and examinations, are essential components of good oral health.