Although many people think of gum disease as a condition that only affects adults, the truth is that even kids are susceptible to this dental problem. If your child isn't brushing as often as he or she should or has an increased risk of dental problems, gum disease can develop at an early age. Understanding that this risk exists and how to deal with it can help to protect your child's long-term dental health.
Gingivitis is the earliest and least concerning form of gum disease. It causes the gums to be inflamed and bleed easily. Typically caused by a lack of consistent brushing, this condition will go away if your child brushes and flosses regularly and takes good care of his or her teeth. If your child has mild gingivitis but doesn't take the steps to address it, it can progress into more severe problems.
Severe Gum Disease
Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease. Most common in the teen years, it leads to a loss of bone around the incisors and the first molars. Sometimes, it can even affect the entire mouth, causing heavy buildup of plaque and swollen, red gums. This can even cause your child's adult teeth to become loose.
Risks of Gum Disease
The most common factor in the development of any gum disease is poor dental care habits. Additionally, though, there are a few other things that can increase your child's risk of these problems. For example, if your child has Down syndrome, diabetes or similar conditions, he or she may be at greater risk of the condition. Also, if there is a history of gum disease in the family, it may mean that your child is more susceptible as well. Your family dentist can tell you if your child is at risk of gum disease in any form.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to encourage your child to brush and floss regularly. Also, make sure that you're taking him or her to the dentist on a regular basis. Particularly in the teen years, it's important to stress proper dental care, as this is a time when hormonal changes might affect your child's risk. The more attentive you are to your child's dental health, the less risk he or she will have of developing a condition like this.
Talk with family dentist, such as Havendale Dental Office PA, about your child's risk factors. He or she can help you create a dental care plan that will help to protect your child's teeth and gums.