Like adults, your child can develop gum disease and its related problems. While teens and adults tend to be more at risk due to hormones and age, even young children can easily get gum disease under certain circumstances. If left untreated, gum problems can worsen and continue well after your child's adult teeth erupt. Here are some of the causes and treatments for gum disease.
Signs of Gum Disease in Children
Your child will unlikely be aware of any pain or discomfort if the gum disease is mild and in its early stages. However, at that point, you'll likely notice that your child's gums are a deep red and possibly bleeding during brushing and flossing. If the gum disease is more advanced, then you may also see gum pockets and recession. In some cases, sores will develop and your child may complain about pain in the mouth.
Common Risk Factors for Gum Disease in Children
In young children, one of the most common reasons for gum disease is poor dental hygiene. Children should be brushing at least twice a day for two minutes and flossing at the same time. Some children may need more frequent brushing. Eating a lot of sugary and starchy foods is also a risk factor. In teens, changing hormones can increase the gum's sensitivity to plaque and cause more irritation and inflammation. Occasionally, certain medical conditions, medications, and even genetic history can increase the risk.
Treatment for Gum Disease
The treatments for children are not too different than that as adults. If your child hasn't been brushing or flossing enough or it's been a long time since the last tooth cleaning, then increasing the frequency of those may help. If there are already pockets forming, then tooth scaling along with antibiotics is a common treatment. If the gum disease is particularly advanced, then your child may need surgery or gum grafting to both treat the disease and protect the teeth.
Preventing Future Gum Disease
For most children, keeping up with their dental hygiene and dental appointments are enough to keep gum disease at a minimum. If your child is wearing braces, make sure they are properly keeping both their teeth and their braces clean of bacteria-inducing food particles. Eating a healthy diet and reducing sugary and starches can also help.
Once your child starts getting gum disease, it can easily reoccur and is more likely to as your child gets into his or her teen years. Therefore, it's extremely important to keep up with your regular dental appointments. If your child needs to see a dentist, even for a routine checkup, then contact a dentist that focuses in kid's dentistry for an appointment.