Adults are not the only ones affected by gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Though less common, children and teenagers can get gum disease too. The good news is that gum disease is treatable and often preventable. Keep reading to learn more about gum disease treatment and prevention for children and teens.
CAN GUM DISEASE AFFECT CHILDREN AND TEENS?
Gum disease occurs when plaque, a sticky film caused by bacteria, food debris and sugar, builds up on the teeth and gums. Children and teens with plaque build-up often have bleeding, swollen and inflamed gums. If left unchecked, this plaque build-up can harden into tartar, leading to loose teeth and gum tissue damage in severe cases. However, children and teens are more likely to develop a more mild form of gum disease called gingivitis.
Learn more about gingivitis in our related blog: Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GUM DISEASE IN CHILDREN AND TEENS?
The American Academy of Periodontology says the main symptoms of gum disease are as follows:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between the gums and teeth
- Mouth sores
- Bad breath
- Bite or teeth alignment changes
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child or teen’s teeth and gums, it is time to schedule a dental appointment. The sooner you seek care, the better chance you can reverse any damage.
GUM DISEASE TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS
Gum disease will not go away on its own, and gum disease treatment will vary depending on the child’s age, symptoms, general health, and how advanced their condition is. That’s why early gum disease treatment is imperative – it will stop the disease from progressing and causing any future dental issues.
If your dentist diagnoses your child or teen with gum disease, gum disease treatment options can include:
- Regular dental cleanings: Dental exams are essential for preventive dental care. Preventive dentistry aids in the avoidance of cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, gingivitis and periodontitis. At The Landing Dental Spa, we believe that children need to take part in preventive dentistry to help them learn lifelong dental health habits.
- Deep cleaning (scaling or root planing): In the early stages of gum disease, your child’s dentist can scrape and remove the plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line and infected tissue. This form of deep cleaning can also smooth the damaged root surfaces of the teeth, allowing the gums to reattach themselves to the teeth.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics and other medications are often used alongside scaling and root planing to stop inflammation and infection.
- Surgery: In advanced cases of gum disease, surgery may be required to clean the infected areas under the gums and replace or reshape gum tissue.
Learn more about gum disease and gum disease treatment in our related blog: Gum Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.
GUM DISEASE PREVENTION FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS
The good news is that gum disease is often preventable. You can implement prevention methods into your child or teen’s oral hygiene routine right now to help them avoid gum disease and severe dental problems in the future.
- Brush twice a day with an appropriately sized toothbrush
- Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing
- Floss daily
- Use mouthwash daily
- See their dentist twice a year for regular dental exams
Lastly, as parents and guardians, it is essential to understand the risks of gum disease when thinking about ways to prevent it. Risk factors including age, smoking, diet and genetics can increase a child’s risk of developing gum disease and requiring gum disease treatment. If you think your child or teen is at an increased risk, be sure to discuss that with their dentist at their next exam.
GUM DISEASE TREATMENT AND PREVENTION | THE LANDING DENTAL SPA
At The Landing Dental Spa, we want to care for the whole family. Preventive oral care starts as a child, and we believe that healthy oral habits that start early will continue throughout an individual’s life.
If you think your child or teen may be exhibiting signs of gum disease, do not wait to make an appointment. Prompt treatment of gum disease usually reverses any signs of damage and prevents its progression. Additionally, our dentists, Dr. Lemley and Dr. Ayers, care about your child’s overall health and want them to have a healthy smile for years to come. If you would like to set up an appointment for your child or teen, give us a call at 304-594-2200 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!