Gum disease can affect any patient of any age. In fact, research indicates that roughly four out of five people in the United States will suffer from periodontal (gum) disease at some point in their lifetime. While many people may attribute the development of gum disease with aging, many patients may be unaware that children and young adults can develop periodontal disease, too.
Caused by the same bacteria that lead to dental caries, gum disease involves irritation and infection of gingival tissue. This occurs when tartar buildup, filled with harmful bacteria, accumulates along and underneath the gum line. Once the gums became inflamed and infected, the condition will only worsen without treatment from your periodontist and proper oral hygiene.
While many people may attribute the development of gum disease with aging, many patients may be unaware that children and young adults can develop periodontal disease, too.
When left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bone deterioration. Furthermore, the infection present in gingival tissue can enter the bloodstream and may affect a patient’s cardiovascular system and overall health.
A number of factors can contribute to the development of gum disease in children and adolescents. The most common factors involve inadequate oral hygiene and irregular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings and checkups. Other contributors to periodontal disease include certain medications and medical conditions along with hormonal fluctuations—especially during puberty.
Fortunately, managing gum disease before it progresses to a chronic, systemic infection is not impossible. Your periodontist recommends educating yourself and your family on the signs and symptoms of gum disease which can include:
- Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing
- Discoloration of gum tissue
- Irritated-looking or inflamed gums
- Recession of the gums away from teeth
Preventing the progression of gum disease is important for patients of any age, including children. Dental professionals recommend that parents and caregivers help children establish good oral hygiene habits at a young age that include flossing between teeth daily and brushing teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. Furthermore, children should visit a dentist for cleanings bi-annually.
If your child has developed signs of gum disease or if your general dentist has recommended visiting a periodontist, contact the office of Dr. Donald Steinberg to reserve an appointment. Call 817-267-1851 today.