Gum Disease and Adolescence and Oral Care

Periodontal disease isn’t exclusively a problem for adults, all age groups are susceptible. Studies have taught us that gingivitis, the first phase of periodontal disease, is also an issue for children and teens as well. The more advanced kinds of periodontal disease tend to be more rare in children but are not unheard of. This is due to the fact that they take longer to fully develop.

Recurring gingivitis is a very common problem for children. It will make gum tissue turn red and become inflamed, it also will make gums bleed easily. Gingivitis left untouched can develop further into more advanced and more problematic forms of periodontal disease. The good news is that it is easily preventable and treatable with routine flossing, brushing and dental appointments.

Even young children that are otherwise healthy can be susceptible to aggressive localized periodontitis. It is generally affects the first molars and incisor teeth in young adults and teenagers. It is described by serious loss of the alveolar bone, patients usually will not form very much calculus or dental plaque.

Generalized aggressive periodontitis has the potential to involve the entirety of the mouth and tends to developed during adolescence. It is characterized by the swelling of gum tissue, large amounts of plaque as well as calculus. Over time it will cause teeth to loosen. Children are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease if they have type one diabetes,Papillon Lefevre syndrome, or down syndrome.

Dental care in adolescence

Evidence suggests that susceptibility to periodontal disease can be increased during adolescence. This can be caused by a lack of motivation to get into the habit of taking care of their dental hygiene effectively. Children that have the routine of good dental hygiene are far more likely to keep that routine going as they get older than children that do not have the established habit.

Advice for parents

It is paramount that periodontal disease is caught early. With early treatment it can be managed much easier, and can be prevented from advancing. It follows that it is vital that your children have a periodontal examination as a part of their dental appointments. If your child is suffering from one of the advanced kinds of periodontal disease, it could potentially be an early indicator of systemic disease. In this instance a more general medical examination may be recommended, especially if the severe periodontitis is resisting the usual therapy. The easiest way to prevent these issues is simply to establish a daily routine that includes good oral health.

Developing these habits from an early age will do you plenty of good down the road. When your child is around a year old you can start to brush their teeth with toothpaste. Be careful to use a minimal amount and squish it into the bristles to ensure that your child won’t be eating it. Flossing can begin as soon as the gaps between your child’s teeth begin to close.

Being a good role model for your child’s dental health can also go a long way in encouraging these habits. Regular dental appointments for the whole family will help with early detection. Make sure to keep an eye on your child’s mouth to look out for early indicators of periodontal disease. This includes symptoms like, bleeding of the gums, bad breath, inflamed and red gums, and receding gums.

If correct oral care habits are not yet in place establish them as soon as possible, as it is much easier to do in childhood. A healthy smile, and great breath can help your child with confidence in their personal appearance, and self esteem.

Martindale Dental provides both general and specialty dentistry under one roof.  For more than 20 years, our dentists have been advocates for their patients oral health care needs. Our dental offices are conveniently located in Toronto, North York, St Catharines, North York, Burlington, Milton East and Milton West, Ontario. We offer convenient before & after work and weekend appointments.