Many people think of gum disease as a condition that only affects adults. However, teenagers and even younger children can easily get gum disease (or its milder form, gingivitis). At Smile Town Dentistry in Burnaby, we provide gum disease therapy for children.
What is Gum Disease?
When bacteria and food debris build up on the teeth, they form a sticky film called plaque. When this plaque hardens, it forms tartar, and even more plaque continues to form. The tartar and plaque infect the gums, causing them to become red, sore and swollen. This condition is called gum disease.
If left untreated, gum disease will worsen. It can cause gums to bleed readily during brushing and flossing, chronic bad breath, and loosening teeth. Eventually, the gums form pockets in which the plaque will continue to develop.
While children don't usually have serious gum disease as described above, they do often develop a milder form of this disease called gingivitis.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Typically, gum disease is caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene habits and poor dietary choice.
Teenagers are more prone to gum disease because hormonal changes they experience during puberty cause increase blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive to irritation, food particles, and plaque.
Gum Disease Therapy & Prevention
The most important thing you can do to prevent and treat gum disease is to encourage your child to maintain good oral hygiene habits. That means thorough daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular visits to the dentist for check ups and cleanings.
If your child develops gingivitis or gum disease, good dental hygiene habits will not only help to cure it, but will also prevent it from reoccurring.
Another precaution you can take to help your child avoid gum disease is limiting sugary foods, and providing healthy snacks and meals instead.
If the gum disease has progressed to the point that oral hygiene and a healthy diet alone can't cure it, then treatment may include deep cleaning, oral rinses, medication, antibiotics and in severe cases, surgery.
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