You are concerned about keeping your child’s teeth cavity free. But have you been keeping a sharp eye out for another serious oral issue? When you think of gum disease, also called periodontal disease, you may think of it as a problem reserved only for adults. After all, about half of American adults over the age of 30 struggle with a more advanced form of this disease, with prevalence rising to 70 percent in adults 65 and older.
But can children be at risk for developing periodontal disease too? Although this condition isn’t as common in children, they are still susceptible to the damaging effects of gum disease. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to recognize the signs, how gum disease is caused, and how you can prevent gum disease for your child.
Signs of Gum Disease
If you don’t know what to look for, gum disease can be difficult to spot. Basically, gums that are healthy will appear firm and a lighter pink color. If you notice red, swollen gums that bleed while your child brushes their teeth, they may have the first stage of gum disease.
More advanced cases will manifest in chronic bad breath, gum recession, pus in between teeth, changes in your child’s bite, and/or loose permanent teeth. By acting quickly and treating gum disease right away, you can spare your child from suffering tooth loss and potentially getting serious medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
Cause of Gum Disease
Gum disease is chronic inflammation in the gum tissue that is caused by harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth. These bacteria live in plaque, the white substance that attaches to the teeth, particularly between them, after your child eats. If plaque is allowed to remain there, it hardens into tartar. Then, the bacteria produce acids that irritate the gums and lead to the symptoms mentioned above. Without treatment, gum disease can ultimately cause loss of permanent teeth and cause dangerous inflammation in other parts and systems of the body.
Preventing Gum Disease
The good news about gum disease is that it is fairly simple to avoid altogether. All it takes is incorporating healthy oral habits in your child’s lifestyle. Every day, they need to brush and floss their teeth, removing the plaque and bacteria before it has a chance to settle. Then, you also need to bring your child to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months. That way, the dentist can catch any developing problems and remove plaque and tartar that your child may have missed.
By taking the time and effort to teach your child proper oral care now while they are young, you can prevent gum disease not only in the near future but also well into their adult years. As they continue to learn these necessary skills as they grow older, they can keep their smile healthy and free from infection to defy the odds.
About Chaska Dental Center
When it comes to protecting smiles from gum disease, Chaska Dental Center takes oral care seriously for patients of all ages, including children. Dr. Thomas Meschke and Dr. Aaron Swingdorf have had years of advanced training and clinical experience, and they can easily recognize and treat gum disease. They enjoy helping patients overcome this condition and teaching healthy habits for lifelong oral health. If you have questions for Dr. Meschke or Dr. Swingdorf, you can contact them at Chaska Dental Center by calling (952) 448-4151 or clicking here.