Can Children and Adolescents Get Gum Disease?

periodontists DFWGum disease is a dental condition that can wreak havoc on your oral health. Advanced gum (periodontal) disease can destroy teeth and bone and is the chief cause of tooth loss among adults. Complex and advanced cases of gum disease should be treated by periodontists, dentists with special training and additional education to treat diseases of the gums. While gum disease is common among adults, children and adolescents are prone to gum disease as well. Our periodontist explains.

Causes of Gum Disease

The primary contributor to gum disease is a lack of proper oral hygiene. When daily deposits of plaque are not removed with thorough flossing and brushing, they will eventually harden into tartar, which is a substance that cannot be removed by oral hygiene alone. When tartar accumulates, it will inflame the gums and ultimately infect them. The gums will pull away from teeth and tartar will begin to accumulate along the roots of teeth. Without professional deep cleanings and treatment, gum disease will only worsen.

Other lesser-known causes of gum disease include hormonal fluctuations and certain medications and health conditions. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty and menses can cause gum sensitivity and heighten the risk for gum disease. Medications that contribute to dry mouth such as anti-histamines also irritate gum tissue over time along with medical conditions like diabetes.

Preventing Gum Disease in Children and Adolescents

To prevent gum disease among children, parents and caregivers should encourage and monitor oral hygiene habits.  Children should brush their teeth twice a day, especially right before bedtime. Teeth should be brushed for a minimum of two minutes each time. Children over the age of five should also floss their teeth daily to remove food and plaque between teeth. Just like adults, younger patients should receive regular cleanings and checkups to help prevent and detect oral conditions like gum disease.

Our periodontists treat gum disease in children and adolescents as well as adults. To reserve an appointment for a member of your family, contact any of their offices today.