Most people associate gum disease with old age. While periodontal disease is common in older populations, early forms of the disease are especially common in children. The American Academy of Periodontology claims almost all children and teens have some form of gingivitis. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most common is poor dental hygiene.
Preventable Gingivitis in Children
Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease characterized by swollen, bleeding gums. The more advanced form of gum disease is periodontitis, which can lead to serious complications, such as tooth and bone loss. Harmful oral bacteria cause gum disease. Found in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth, these bacteria can cause serious infection if left unchecked. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day, as well as regular six-month dental cleanings, may prevent the disease or reverse its effects before it advances. Children typically have less commitment to good oral hygiene practices. Parents who closely manage and direct their children’s oral care routines will help their little ones deter disease and develop healthy habits that will carry into adulthood.
Gum Disease in Teens
Teens have an increased risk of gum disease, partly because of bad oral hygiene practices, but also because of hormonal changes during puberty. The increased level of sex hormones, like progesterone and estrogen, cause a corollary increase of blood circulation to the gums. This promotes gum sensitivity to irritation, like plaque build-up. The gums may swell and become tender during this time in a teen’s life. Good oral hygiene is especially important during puberty, although gums will swell less in response to irritation as development progresses. Periodontal therapy may help prevent damage to gum tissue and bone during this time.
Good Habits Start Early
At Calcagno Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we believe good oral hygiene should start at a young age. Children who have a fun, relaxing, and predictable time at the dentist are more likely to take personal control of their oral health. The habits formed at this age will carry with them through their teenage and adult lives. Dr. Calcagno is especially dedicated to making children feel comfortable at her office. One of her main tasks in caring for your child is educating him or her on proper oral hygiene practices. You can rest assured your child will receive excellent care and attention from our Rochester dental team.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule your child’s next dental cleaning or to set-up a consultation with Dr. Calcagno, please call our Rochester office at (507) 281-3659. We serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, and the surrounding communities.