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Can Children Get Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an extremely common oral health condition that many Canadian adults deal with. However, many people are unaware that children can also be impacted by this disease. Here, our Nepean dentists explain how this happens and what can be done to prevent it. 

What is gum disease?

Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the oral cavity that can impact the teeth as well as the gums. In severe cases, it can also affect the supporting jaw bone. 

Gingivitis is the earliest and mildest stage of gum disease. This is also the form that's most common in children and teenagers. 

What are the causes of gum disease?

Plaque can accumulate in the mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene, leading to gum disease. This is a common problem in children. When bacteria is not removed from the mouth on a regular or sufficient basis, a sticky film called plaque develops on the teeth. As a result, tartar soon forms as a result of this buildup, then infect the gums, causing them to become red and swollen. 

Children are also not necessarily immune to some other causes of gum disease. For example, mouth breathing can cause chronic dry mouth, which in turn can lead to gingivitis if not handled properly. A diet full or sugars and starches will not yield enough nutrients to the teeth and gums, further increasing children's risk of gum disease. 

During puberty, hormonal changes can also increase a person's risk of gum disease as blood flow rises due to hormonal imbalances. This imbalance can create result in sensitive gums and teeth, which in turn will be more vulnerable to plaque and food particles. 

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Gum disease can manifest itself in a variety of ways depending on where it is in its progression. While early symptoms are mild in comparison to advanced symptoms, they are still inconvenient and uncomfortable, as well as a warning sign of potentially more serious problems to come.

Early symptoms of gum disease tend to include:

  • Inflamed or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums during flossing
  • Bad breath

If gum disease is allowed to progress unchecked and untreated, it will eventually manifest itself in more severe symptoms.

Advanced symptoms of gum disease tend to include:

  • Receding gums
  • Periodontal pockets (space between the gums and teeth)
  • Painful chewing
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth (which may eventually fall out)

Preventing Gum Disease in Children

Gum disease can be prevented in both children and adults with a few simple steps. It probably won't come as a surprise to learn that maintaining good oral hygiene is essential in preventing gum disease from developing in the first place!

An effective oral hygiene routine at home, as well as regular dental visits for cleanings and examinations, are essential components of good oral health.

Would you like more information on preventing gum disease in children? Contact our Nepean dentists today to schedule an appointment.

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