Gum Disease in Children

Gum Disease in Children
Posted on 04/09/2018

Many people believe that gum disease is a problem that only affects adults. The truth is, however, that kids can also develop  gum disease, causing inflammation, tooth loss, and bone damage if left untreated. At our Amarillo pediatric dentistry practice, Dr. Metcalf often sees young patients with the telltale signs of early gum disease called gingivitis that makes the gums look puffy, swollen, and bright red.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease or periodontal disease as it’s also called is a chronic inflammation of the gums, caused by ineffective or irregular oral hygiene habits. Plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing begins to build upon the surface of the teeth to the point where it irritates the gum tissue. The symptoms range from mild to severe, starting with mild gingivitis and progressing to advanced periodontitis.

In addition to affecting oral health, untreated gum disease can also affect overall health. The harmful bacteria that cause gum disease can travel through the bloodstream to form fatty deposits in the arteries that can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Signs & Symptoms to Watch For:

The tricky thing about gum disease in its early stages is that it is entirely painless, making it hard to detect. That’s why we recommend that parents keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms in their children. If any of these signs/symptoms are present, it’s time to visit your Amarillo kids dentist for an exam.

  • Red, tender gums that bleed easily when brushed
  • Persistent foul-smelling breath, even after cleaning the teeth
  • Pockets of pus around the teeth or gums
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth

If gum disease is not detected and treated promptly, the infection can spread to the soft tissue and bone underneath, causing loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Treating Gum Disease in Kids

Children who develop a mild form of gingivitis can be typically be treated through professional dental cleanings and by establishing good oral hygiene routines. Professional treatment may be necessary if the condition worsens which could include deep cleaning, oral rinses, antibiotics, or other medications. In the more advanced stages, surgery may be the only treatment option left.

Gum Disease Prevention Tips

The good news in all of this is that parents can help their kids avoid gum disease by doing the following:

  • Making sure your kids brush their teeth thoroughly after each meal and before bedtime
  • Making sure your kids floss at least once per day
  • Not providing your kids with snacks they can eat throughout the day
  • Limiting the number of sugary treats your kids consume, or better yet, cutting sugar entirely out of your child's diet
  • Bringing your kids in to see our children’s dentist in Amarillo every six months for routine exams & cleanings

Visit Us for Pediatric Dentistry in Amarillo!

At Children’s Dentistry of Amarillo, we believe that all kids should enjoy the childhood years without having to deal with problems with their teeth and gums that can cause infection and pain. That’s why we encourage all you parents out there to get into the habit of scheduling regular visits