While gum disease is a common condition among adults in Canada, children can also develop it. In this blog, our Newmarket dentists share the common causes of gum disease in children as well as ways to prevent it.
Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the oral cavity that affects the gums, teeth, and in severe cases, the supporting jaw bone.
Gingivitis is the earliest and mildest stage of gum disease. It is also the form that is seen most often in children and teenagers.
Causes of Gum Disease
When plaque builds up in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene, gum disease develops, which is a common issue among 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 still some other causes of gum diseases that children aren't necessarily immune to. Mouth breathing, for example, is a cause of chronic dry mouth, which in turn can lead to gingivitis if not handled properly. In addition to this, a diet full of starches and sugars won't offer enough nutrients to the gums and teeth, increasing the risk of gum disease in children even further.
Hormonal changes, especially during puberty, also come with a higher risk of 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.
The Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease can exhibit itself in many ways depending on how much it has progressed. 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 signs of gum disease often include:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums during flossing
- Inflamed or swollen gums
If gum disease is allowed to continue unchecked and untreated, it will eventually manifest itself in more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of advanced gum disease typically include:
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth (which may eventually fall out)
- Periodontal pockets (space between the gums and teeth)
Preventing Children from Developing Gum Disease
Children and adults can implement a few simple steps to prevent gum disease. It probably won't shock you to find out that maintaining good oral hygiene is essential when it comes to preventing gum disease.
An effective oral hygiene routine at home, as well as regular dental visits for cleanings and examinations, are essential components of good oral health.