Posted on: 13 August 2015Share
When most people think of gum disease, they don't picture children or even toddlers. While gum problems are more common in adults, children can and do develop gum disease. However, there are ways to prevent it, and if your child is showing signs of it, most types can be reversed with proper treatment. Every parent needs to know the types of gum disease children can develop, how to prevent them and how they are treated.
Types of Gum Disease Children Develop and Prevention
There are three main types of gum disease that children can develop. First, there is gingivitis, which is the most easily preventable just by having your child maintain good dental hygiene. Children who brush at least twice a day for two full minutes each time and also floss daily are less likely to develop gingivitis than children who don't brush or floss regularly. If your child is very young and has not reached puberty, then this is likely the type of gum disease he or she has.
The two other types are aggressive periodontitis and chronic periodontitis. They are both more common in pre-teens and teenagers. If gum inflammation is only present in part of your child's mouth, then that signals aggressive periodontitis. If all gum tissue in your child's mouth is inflamed, then that signals chronic periodontitis.
While good oral hygiene does play a role in preventing both types of periodontitis, there are other factors that may not be under your control that can make your child more susceptible to developing these more advanced forms of gum disease that can actually lead to bone loss in the mouth. One factor is genetics, and another is the presence of an inflammatory disease in their body.
Actually, since periodontitis occurs frequently due to underlying systemic (meaning full body) illness, it is important to alert your child's primary care doctor of this problem, as they may need tests run to determine if there is an underlying, undiagnosed disease causing this type of gum disease.
Treatment For Gum Disease in Children
If your child is showing any signs of gum disease, first take him or her to a pediatric dentist for a proper diagnosis. You need to find out what type of gum disease they have, and your dentist will also form a treatment plan for getting their gums healthy again.
If the dentist determines your child has gingivitis, then treatment will rely on the severity of the disease. If just beginning, your child's dentist may only perform a professional teeth-cleaning to remove all tartar from their teeth and gums and give you instructions to improve your child's oral hygiene routine at home. If more severe, antibiotics may help jump-start your child's gums back to health.
If your dentist determines your child has one of the forms of periodontitis, then cleaning their teeth can only help so much, so stronger treatments are needed. After a deep cleaning, your dentist may insert antibiotic gel into your child's gum pockets. Antibiotic pills may also be prescribed. If too much damage has already occurred to your child's gums, then they may need oral surgery to repair gum tissue and replace lost bone tissue. Also, if there is an underlying, full-body illness contributing to your child's gum disease, then treatment for that disease from your primary care physician is very important.
Children can develop gum disease, and if you take your child to the dentist every six months, then your dentist can catch it early before it progresses. If you have neglected dental checkups for your child and he or she is showing signs of gum disease, then schedule an appointment with a dentist immediately for diagnosis and treatment before it becomes worse.