Gum disease is a serious oral health condition. It involves infected tissues that can destroy your teeth’s supporting structures and even impact your overall health. Gum disease, however, is not restricted to the adult population. While kids are not likely to suffer from an acute or severe onset of gum disease, they are prone to chronic gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and it is an indication that the gums are not in ideal health. Considering that the gums are the foundation of your smile, chronic gingivitis in children needs to be on your radar as a parent.
What’s worse (and perhaps surprising) is that under certain conditions, gum disease is contagious. If you share germs with someone who has gum disease over a long period of time and your mouth is a hostable environment for the bacteria to grow, you can catch periodontal disease. This is primarily true for kids going through puberty, as this is when changing hormones allow the oral bacteria of gum disease to be transmittable and hostable. If you have a teen, it is critical that you instruct them on proper oral hygiene habits to ward off gum disease, especially if they are in braces. If you struggle with gum disease yourself, avoid sharing eating utensils with your adolescent.
The Good News
Fortunately, whether you are a child or aging adult, gum disease is treatable in every patient. When caught early enough, gum disease can be reversed through better hygiene habits, a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) or laser periodontal therapy.
The important thing is that you recognize gum disease. Here are some common warning signs to watch out for in yourself and your child:
- Puffy or red bleeding gums
- Bad breath (rotten egg / sulfur smell)
- Painful chewing
- Loose/sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
Are you concerned that your child may have signs of gingivitis or gum disease? Schedule an appointment at Park South Dentistry. In most cases, a professional cleaning from the dentist is the best way to restore your child’s gum health.