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Dr. Cynthia Pelley
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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
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8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
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Gum Disease Isn't Just for Adults

Posted on 12/25/2015 by Cynthia Pelley
A young boy suffering from gum disease!Do you think that gum disease is a condition that only affects adults? Think again. Your kids are also susceptible to developing gum disease, especially during the teenage years. By better understanding the risk factors for gum disease in childhood, you can take steps to protect your child's oral health.

Types of Childhood Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the most common type of gum disease found in kids and teens. Chronic gingivitis can cause the gums to bleed easily, swell, and become red. Fortunately, this condition is entirely preventable as long as your child takes proper care of his teeth and gums and obtains regular dental cleanings. If your child does have gingivitis and fails to treat it, gum disease could result.

More severe forms of gum disease are rare with children, but slightly more common with teens. Generalized aggressive gum disease is a form of gum disease that has serious symptoms, including loose teeth, plaque and tartar build-up, and gum inflammation. Advanced gum disease that leads to systematic health conditions may also result, but these conditions are more common with children who are living with Type 1 diabetes, Down syndrome, or Kinder syndrome.

Childhood Periodontal Disease Risk Factors

The American Academy of Periodontology states that gum disease is rare in young children and is considered uncommon with teens. However, developing the condition is possible, and there are certain factors that could increase your child's risk:

•  Puberty. The risk of developing gum disease will increase as your child gets older. During puberty, your teen will experience fluctuations in his hormones, which can result in hormonal gum disease. Progesterone is the major culprit, as this hormone can increase blood flow to the gums, making them more easily irritated to bacteria and plaque, and they will also be more sensitive.
•  Genetics. Certain genetic factors can determine whether your child is at risk of developing gum disease. If you or your child's other biological parent have gum disease, your child will be at a higher risk of also developing the condition. He may be more likely to have the specific type of bacteria in his mouth that cause gum disease and gum infections. If you know that you or your spouse has gum disease, you should be sure to encourage proper dental hygiene.
•  Poor oral hygiene. Failure to maintain a good dental hygiene routine can increase your child's risk of developing gum disease. If your child doesn't properly care for his gums or teeth, plaque will be allowed to build up, causing gum problems. The best way to prevent your child from developing gum disease is to encourage good oral care habits early on in life, and you should also serve as a good role model when it comes to brushing and flossing.

Signs to Look For
If you are concerned that your child may have gum disease, there are certain signs that you should be sue to look for. The earliest symptoms of a problem are usually gums that appear swollen and puffy, and they may start to bleed easily when your child brushes and flosses. If your child has chronic bad breath that isn't helped with improved dental hygiene, this may also serve as a sign of a problem.

As gum disease progresses, your child may begin to experience some other troubling symptoms. His gums may begin to pull back from the teeth, and his teeth may start to loosen. Additionally, his dentist may find pockets in the gums that are allowing plaque to accumulate.

If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from gum disease, please contact us today. In early stages, this issue is entirely treatable, but dental intervention is necessary.

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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry - Cynthia Pelley | | (503) 235-0313
8708 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202