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Are Children At Risk for Gum Disease?

October 13, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — grandnaperville @ 8:04 pm
three young children after seeing dentist in Naperville

Adults are not the only ones who can develop gum disease in Naperville. This common problem can occur in both children and adolescents, causing various symptoms to develop and lead to worsening oral health conditions. However, by taking preventive steps and seeking timely treatment, parents and dentists can work together to mitigate the spread of plaque and bad bacteria that causes periodontal disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease in Children?

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, it is unlikely for a child to experience advanced gum disease. Instead, they are likely to develop gingivitis, which is considered the earliest stage of gum disease.

It is commonly assumed that any oral health problem will cause pain; however, this is not always the case with gum disease in children. A child may not know they have a problem, which is why parents need to pay attention to their child’s oral health and schedule an appointment if any of the following symptoms begin to form:

  • Sore, red, and tender gums
  • Bleeding caused by brushing and flossing
  • Receding gums that pull away from teeth and their roots
  • Bad breath
  • Pus that forms between a child’s teeth and gum tissue
  • Changes to a child’s bite or jaw alignment
  • Loose teeth

What Can Cause Gum Disease to Develop?

Plaque accumulation on the teeth and around the gum line is the main culprit for gum disease. As a sticky substance that attaches to the surfaces of a child’s teeth, it can begin to harden and turn into tartar. Once this happens, at-home brushing and flossing will not be enough to remove it. Instead, a trusted dentist with the appropriate dental instruments must eliminate the buildup and minimize the risk of advanced gum disease.

It is important for parents to be aware of the various risk factors that can cause plaque buildup and lead to gum disease. These can include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Overconsumption of sugary or starchy foods
  • Mouth breathing and the development of dry mouth
  • Systemic diseases and conditions that can weaken the immune system
  • Hormonal changes during adolescence
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)

Which Treatment Options Are Available for Children?

A dentist must consider numerous factors when determining the most appropriate form of treatment for gum disease. The child’s age, overall health, symptoms, and disease progression can mean antibiotics or oral surgery. To avoid more extensive and complex procedures, early detection is necessary. If the problem is found in its initial stages, symptoms may be reversible with regular dental care and good oral hygiene habits.

Other possible treatment options might include:

  • Scaling and root planing: This involves removing hardened plaque and tartar as well as smoothing out the root surfaces to encourage proper gum reattachment.
  • Antibiotics: If a child develops gum pockets, medicine can be applied to treat the infection.
  • Oral Surgery: Although rare, more advanced cases of gum disease in children must be treated using oral surgery. This can include cleaning out the infected parts of the gums as well as reshaping the soft tissues.

Recognizing the symptoms of gum disease early on can reduce the potential risk of more serious oral health problems in children and adolescents. Parents should discuss preventive steps with a children’s dentist to learn how to avoid plaque buildup and maintain healthy smiles well into adulthood.

About the Practice
At Grand Dental – Naperville, our dentist and periodontist have years of experience and training to help patients of all ages achieve better oral health. We provide effective gum disease treatment to eliminate hardened plaque and tartar and reduce the risk of advanced periodontitis. While children most commonly develop gingivitis, we will work quickly to prevent worsening symptoms and restore gum health. If you believe your child might be suffering from gum disease, contact us today by visiting our website or calling (630) 576-9970.