Gum diseases or periodontal diseases can affect people of all ages, including children. Commonly known as gingivitis, gum diseases happen due to severe bacterial infection. It can damage teeth by destroying the supporting structures and damaging gums, which need immediate dental treatment. Besides teaching the child about how to practice good oral hygiene with advice and guidance from a dentist, parents must keep a close watch to ensure that the child follows the routine of daily brushing. Regular brushing keeps the mouth clean and prevents the buildup of plaque in the teeth, which, if neglected, turns into tartar and causes periodontal diseases. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that sticks to the teeth, allowing persisting hardens into a solid mass known as tartar or calculus.
Among many reasons for seeking emergency dental care in St Louis, periodontal diseases are a major cause that can be hard to deal with when it affects children, especially if it is in the advanced stages, which might necessitate surgery. Knowing the disease and knowing the signs that tell about something bad that is happening to your child’s oral health will help to take timely action to prevent any major damage.
Causes of periodontal disease in children
Periodontal diseases pass on to children through genes. In some rare cases, mostly it happens due to food sticking to the gums, mouth breathing that causes dry teeth and gums in front of the mouth, and hormonal changes at the time of puberty. Some children repeatedly clench or grind their teeth which can cause gum disease. It can also happen to those with diabetes, have autoimmune or systemic diseases, smoking, poor diet, and certain medicines that cause gum overgrowth.
Signs of periodontal disease
According to the dentists who offer general dentistry for kids services, parents must be aware of the signs of gum diseases to identify the early signs of the problem and take timely action.
- Bleeding from the gums is the most basic gum disease sign, usually when brushing the teeth or flossing. Gums can also bleed at any other time.
- Puffiness that manifests in the form of swollen and bright red gums is another sign of gum disease.
- Receding gums that create a gap between gums and teeth is another sign of gum disease.
- Persistent bad breath that does not go away after brushing or flossing indicates gum problems.
Types of periodontal diseases in children
Chronic gingivitis – This is the most common type of gum disease in children that becomes evident from swollen gums that turn red and bleeds at the slightest touch or on their own. Maintaining good oral hygiene comprising of regular brushing and flossing and following the routine sincerely can prevent gingivitis. However, periodical dental care by a dentist is also necessary. Neglecting gingivitis can lead to more severe problems.
Aggressive periodontitis – Normally, aggressive periodontitis happens to younger people who might be otherwise healthy. Young adults and teenagers may suffer from localized aggressive periodontitis, mainly affecting the first molars’ incisors. Although those suffering from this condition experience very little plaque, the disease’s typical sign is severe loss of alveolar bone.
Generalized aggressive periodontitis – This is a condition seen in children during puberty, affecting the entire mouth. The signs are evident from the heavy accumulation of plaque and tartar accompanied by inflammation. Eventually, it can make the teeth lose.
Tackling periodontal diseases in children
Parents should try to prevent gum diseases in children by establishing good oral health habits. Although most gum diseases might be manageable with proper dental treatment if detected early. Still, if the disease is in the advanced stage that requires cleaning the gums, surgery becomes unavoidable.
For successful treatment of gum diseases, early diagnosis is essential, and parents should be alert about any possible problems by constantly monitoring their children’s oral health. Including comprehensive periodontal examination as part of the regular dental checkups can help detect the disease.
Become a role model for your child by practicing good oral hygiene habits so that the child starts following you. Introduce your child to healthy habits of maintaining dental hygiene right from its first birthday. When your child is 12 months old, begin using toothpaste to clean/ brush his /her teeth. When the child grows, and the gap between the teeth becomes narrow, start flossing.
Periodically check the interior of your child’s mouth for signs of periodontal diseases. If you see bleeding gums or gums are bright red and swollen, immediately contact a dentist, preferably a pediatric dentist, to treat gum disease. Do the same if your child suffers from persistent bad breath or shows receding gums.
Timely treatment will help to avoid surgery and help you maintain good oral health for a long time.