Unfortunately, the oral bacteria that cause gum disease do not discriminate by age. Therefore, children and adolescents are susceptible to gum disease, and it can be just as detrimental to their oral health as it is for grown-ups. Furthermore, the hormonal changes that occur with puberty can make some teens more susceptible to this condition.
Seeking gum disease treatment as early as possible is just as important for pediatric patients as it is for adults. Parents and children alike should know the signs of early gum disease – redness, swelling or bleeding in the gums – and monitor the tissue for these symptoms. If you or your child notice any issues with the gums, consult with a specialist in periodontics to have the condition treated promptly.
The recommended gum disease treatment will vary based on the severity of the condition. Treatments for children and teens are similar to those used for adult patients.
Mild forms of gum disease usually can be treated non-surgically with a deep cleaning of the teeth that may focus on clearing out any bacteria that have collected between the gums and the tooth. In this procedure, known as root scaling and planing, the roots may be smoothed in spots to remove any areas where the bacteria may be able to collect.
Antibiotic therapy may also be recommended for some patients with early-stage gum disease.
When gum disease advances to periodontitis, a periodontist may need to rely on more invasive treatment, possibly even surgery in cases in which the gums have receded or the underlying bone has been compromised.
Children who have experienced an episode of gum disease should continue to follow with a periodontist for monitoring at regular intervals. This will allow for early intervention in case of a relapse, which can occur.
Of course, good oral hygiene habits are also an important preventive measure against gum disease. Be sure that your child is brushing and flossing using proper technique. The child should be brushing for at least two minutes, as well. Your child also should see the dentist every six months for professional cleanings that can help to keep the bacteria at bay.
Call our office to speak to a member of our professional staff to learn more about the risks of gum disease for children and teens.