How periodontal disease affects children
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, also referred to as gum disease. The word periodontal means around the tooth, and the disease that affects it is caused by severe bacterial infections that destroy the gums and surrounding tissues of the mouth.
Gum disease affects the bones surrounding the tooth, the gums, the root caps of the teeth, and the tooth membrane. If the inflammation is not treated, the disease will continue, and the underlying bone around the teeth will dissolve and can no longer hold the teeth in place.
Usually, this disease is not painful, so your children may have it and not be aware of it.
Can children get gum disease?
When people think of oral health, teeth are the first thing that comes to mind. While, of course, your child's teeth are essential, so are the gums. Your child's gums help support healthy teeth, hold them in place, and serve as a protective seal, keeping out harmful bacteria.
Soft tissue lesions of the oral cavity are common in children. It is essential to distinguish between normal findings and those indicative of periodontal disease, local or systemic infection, and life-threatening systemic conditions.
Although gum disease is more common in adults, it can also occur in children. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can be life-saving.
What causes periodontal disease?
Since 2000, studies, experiments, and clinical observations have revealed a high prevalence of the periodontal disease among children and adolescents.
The accumulation of plaque on the teeth is the leading cause of periodontal disease. Plaque contains bacteria that adhere to healthy teeth. Poor oral hygiene habits allow plaque to grow in the mouth. If plaque is not removed, it hardens and becomes calculus or tartar.
The good news is that parents who take an active role in their children's oral health routine can easily prevent significant problems.
What are the different types of periodontal disease?
The different types of periodontal disease are usually classified according to the stage at which the disease has advanced at the evaluation time. They include:
The mildest form of periodontal disease. It can be divided into four groups: acute, subacute, recurrent, and chronic gingivitis.
This stage of gum disease shows the development of periodontal pockets and early bone loss around the teeth.
Moderate to advanced periodontitis
This more advanced stage of gum disease shows significant bone loss, deepening of the periodontal pockets, and possibly recession of the gums surrounding the teeth. Teeth may become loose and have to be extracted.
What are the signs of periodontal disease in children?
Here are the main signs to watch for to ensure your child is not in the early stages of developing gum disease. However, each child may experience symptoms differently.
- Red, swollen, sore, tender gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Gums that pull away from the teeth (receding gums)
- Bleeding with brushing and/or flossing
- Loose or gapped teeth that show wider-than-normal spacing
- Bad breath that does not go away
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- A change in the bite and jaw alignment
- Partial dentures that no longer fit
The signs and symptoms of gum disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Therefore, you should always consult your child's dentist or another oral health specialist for a diagnosis.
How can you prevent periodontal disease in children?
Good dental habits can prevent gum disease. Make sure your child:
- Brushes his or her teeth twice a day
- Use a toothbrush that is the right size for your child's age and size.
- Floss daily
- Visit the dentist regularly
- Eat healthy foods, limiting those rich in sugar and starch
- Keep an eye on your child's gums.
Preventive dentistry near you at Kingman, AZ
Gum disease does not go away on its own. If your child develops an early stage of gingivitis, it can be treated with regular dental checkups and a consistent oral hygiene regimen at home. If gum disease has already progressed to a more severe stage, more frequent dental checkups, such as deep cleanings every three months, may be necessary.
If you have concerns about your child's gums or want to know what preventive dentistry offers your child's health, the team at Kingman Family Dentistry has you covered. Our experienced dentists will consider all aspects of your child's oral health, including their gums, to keep their smile strong and bright.
As a parent or representative of your child, you play a vital role in preventing these diseases. Our dental experts are here to provide the help and information you need. Call us at (928) 718-8668 or visit our website now and take the next step in helping your child grow up with healthy teeth!