YOU MIGHT THINK that gum disease is a dental health problem that only adults have to deal with. Unfortunately, teenagers and children are also at risk of developing gingivitis and more severe forms of periodontal disease.
The causes of gum disease are different for teenagers than for younger children. The flood of hormones from puberty can increase blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive. This is more of a problem for girls than for boys, but more than half of teens have some form of gum disease.
For younger children, the main cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth and harden into tartar, the gums become vulnerable to irritation and inflammation.
Children don’t always recognize when something is wrong, so they may not come to you with a detailed description of their gum disease symptoms. However, because gum disease worsens over time, we shouldn’t wait for them to notice a problem anyway. Here are a few signs of gum disease that you can be on the watch for:
If your child doesn’t have gum disease, wonderful! However, there are still important steps you can take to keep their gums healthy. The most essential is to encourage good dental hygiene habits. Set an example by brushing twice a day and flossing daily, and make sure they’re following that example. Regular dental checkups are also critical for detecting problems early and giving your child professional cleanings to keep their dental health on track.
It is always better to prevent a dental health problem before it can develop, but if your child does have gum disease, you can still fight back by persevering with those good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups.
Childhood is an important time for oral health, because it’s when we learn the habits that will determine how healthy our teeth and gums will be for the rest of our lives. When parents and dentists work together to give kids a head-start on their oral health, they won’t just help them defeat gum disease; they’ll give them all the tools they need to enjoy lifelong healthy smiles!
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
|The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.|