Gum disease is an oral inflammation that can have dire repercussions. While severe gum disease is not common in children, chronic gingivitis is.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease – severe, debilitating, and irreversible gum disease that can destroy a person’s entire oral health. Because gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, it must always be taken seriously.
Chronic gingivitis is common in children. The symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and tender gums; gums that bleed easily during brushing; constant bad breath; and receding gum tissues.
The main cause of gingivitis in children is poor oral hygiene. Children must be taught how to thoroughly brush and floss their teeth. The best teacher for this is a parent who will demonstrate how to floss properly, how to brush, how long to brush, and how often to floss and brush. Parents who take an active role in their oral health are more likely to have children who take an active role in their oral health.
There are certain times during childhood and adolescence that gingivitis is more prevalent. Hormonal changes related to puberty often put teens and young adults at a greater risk for developing gingivitis. When hormones spike and fluctuate, an increased level of hormones cause increased blood circulation to the gum tissues. This increased blood circulation can cause the gums to become tender and somewhat swollen. When this hormonal reaction occurs in gum tissues that are already slightly unhealthy (due to not practicing optimal oral hygiene), the gums are incredibly vulnerable to developing gingivitis. During puberty, it is important that teens become extra diligent with their oral health. It is often suggested that during puberty teens floss morning and night, and that they brush their teeth after every meal. Yes, this will require a little more effort, but the benefits far outweigh any of the inconvenience of time spent on oral health.
Dr. Wayne G. Suway has been practicing dentistry for over 35 years, and he has seen children and teenagers with healthy gums and with diseased gums. Those who suffer from poor oral health early in life will typically find that they suffer from poor oral health throughout their entire lives. Make the choice today to take care of your teeth and gums so that they will last a lifetime.