Gum disease is a condition that many folks associate with adulthood or old age but the truth is that this condition can affect anyone – including children and adolescents. The factors that contribute to gum disease, such as tartar accumulation and gingival irritation, can affect young people just as much as they can affect adults. Our pediatric dentists offer a host of oral healthcare services including restorative and preventive dentistry as well as diagnosis and treatment for gum disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
Among children and adolescents, the primary cause behind periodontal (gum) disease is improper or inadequate oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing is imperative for controlling the buildup of plaque – a substance of colonized bacteria that coats the gums and teeth. Plaque irritates the gums and when left on the teeth and gums, it will harden into tartar once it is exposed to calculus. Tartar, unlike plaque, cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. Therefore, it must be scraped away with professional dental cleanings. Since tartar is not removable with home care, it will continue to build along the gum line. As tartar accumulates, the gums pull away from teeth and periodontal pockets form, which exposes the roots of teeth and the spaces between teeth to more tartar buildup.
Other contributors to childhood gum disease include medications that cause dry mouth and health conditions that suppress the immune system.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Early stage gum disease may be asymptomatic; however, some patients may experience bleeding gums during flossing or brushing and gingiva that looks red or swollen in appearance. As the disease advances, the roots of teeth may become exposed and the gums will appear noticeably inflamed.
During checkups and cleanings, our pediatric dentist and dental hygienists will look for signs of gum disease. If gum disease is detected, we will advise your child on proper oral hygiene practices in an easy-to-understand format and may schedule specialized treatment such as deep cleaning therapy.
Call Richardson Dentistry at (972) 218-0078 today to reserve an appointment at our family friendly practice.