Gum Disease in Children & When It’s Time to See a Periodontist
Making sure your child is properly brushing and flossing can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort. The risks of poor oral health aren’t limited to cavities. When plaque is not adequately removed from the gumline, bacterial growth can lead to gum disease, also called periodontal disease.
Poor oral care isn’t the only culprit, though. Even if your children practice great oral hygiene, they could still develop gum disease, and in extreme cases, a consultation with a dental specialist might be required. Learn more by taking a look below at our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about children and periodontal disease.
What causes gum disease in children besides poor dental care?
Anyone who doesn’t brush and floss regularly is at risk of developing gum disease, but certain medical, environmental, and other factors can increase the risk. Genetics and hormonal changes are among those factors, as are autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and some medications that cause gums to grow over the teeth. Poor nutrition is also a major risk factor, along with teeth grinding, and mouth breathing, which dries out the gums and encourages bacterial growth.
What are the symptoms of pediatric periodontal disease?
Most children who develop gum disease are diagnosed with the mildest form, called gingivitis, which involves red, swollen, and sore gums. Other symptoms of gum disease include bleeding when brushing or flossing, receding gums, or in extreme cases, visible pus between the teeth and gums. An older child who has already lost their baby teeth might experience loose or separating adult teeth if they have gum disease, while other less obvious symptoms include a change in bite or alignment and persistent bad breath.
When should your child see a periodontist?
Your dentist is usually the one to diagnose periodontal disease by assessing using your child’s complete dental history and performing a thorough examination of the teeth and gums. Depending on the severity of the disease, the dentist might refer your child to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in periodontal disease.
What does periodontics treatment for children involve?
Treatment for periodontal disease depends on how severe it is, as well as your child’s age, overall health, and specific symptoms. In the early stages of the disease, treatment usually involves a deep cleaning to remove the plaque, hardened tartar underneath the gums, and any infected tissue. Antibiotic medicine might also be used, either in a pill form or directly applied to the pockets under the gums. Advanced periodontal disease sometimes requires gum surgery, which involves cleaning under the gums and reshaping or replacing damaged tissue.
How can periodontal disease be prevented?
Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day are the easiest ways to prevent gum disease for both children and adults, and it’s particularly important to ensure that children use a toothbrush that fits their age and size. Regular checkups at the dentist are also crucial, as treatment for gum disease in children is easier the sooner it is diagnosed. Finally, eating healthy foods and limiting sugary and starchy foods will improve both oral health and overall health.
Periodontal specialists for children in San Diego
If your or your child is showing symptoms of periodontal disease, schedule an appointment right away. The sooner it’s treated, the better. At San Diego Dental Specialty Center, our staff is experienced in treating perio for children, along with various other dental issues. Give us a call at (619) 263-6683 or fill out our contact for to schedule a consultation today.