Gum Disease in Children
Gum disease is caused by bacteria and food debris that builds up on the teeth, forming a sticky substance known as plaque. If left untreated, the plaque will begin to harden, forming tartar. As plaque continues to build it will lead to swollen and tender gums. When the condition is left alone to worsen it will cause teeth to loosen because it damages the soft tissue and bone underneath the teeth. While it is rare for gum disease in children to progress to this level, it is common for children to develop a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating permanent teeth
- Persistent bad breath
What are the risk factors for gum disease?
- Oral Infections
Certain viral or bacterial infections can cause gum problems in children. Herpetic gingivostomatitis, a form of the herpes virus, is common in children under three, and can cause ulcers on the gums. This can also cause swelling and bleed of the gums.
Immunosuppressive therapy medications to treat asthma may cause inflammation of the gums. If you notice a change or your child begins to complain about mouth discomfort, ask if your doctor can change the medicine.
- Systemic Diseases
Diseases such as Juvenile Onset or Type 1 Diabetes, Haemophilia, Leukaemia, and congenital heart disease will increase the chance of gum disease.
- Other Factors
Children with a cleft lip may experience gum inflammation because of tissue folds and dental arch irregularities. Children with special needs may affect the child’s ability to brush their teeth properly, thus resulting in inflamed gums.
How is gum disease in children treated?
If your dentist detects gingivitis, a deep cleaning will help remove the plaque and help the infected tissue recover, in the early stages of the disease. Work together with your dentist to create an effective oral hygiene routine with your child. Even baby teeth need to be taken care of properly! Establish good habits early that will last a lifetime.
And as a side note, the symptoms of gum disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. If your dentist detects gum disease, make sure to mention it to your child’s primary care physician as well. If you have concerns about the health of your child’s teeth or gums call Tooth Fairy Smiles today to set up an appointment.