Gum disease isn’t just for adults. It can affect kids of any age who have either their primary or adult teeth. The beginning stage is gingivitis, which can progress to more advanced stages of gum disease if not treated. Ensuring your children take care of their teeth is one way to prevent gum disease, but this sneaky oral health problem can often happen before parents realize the signs. Here are the signs of gum disease in children as well as how it will affect your child and what you can do!
Signs to Watch Out For
You should be monitoring your child’s brushing habits until they’re old enough to brush and floss on their own. However, it’s still a good idea to check in with your children regularly to see how they’re doing with their oral care. It’s easy for kids to neglect to brush for the two full minutes or to miss spots!
Watch out for bleeding during brushing. You can do this by observing your child rinsing out their mouth after brushing: any pink or red in the sink could be a sign of gum disease! You may also see if your child has red or swollen gums. Gums that look red or puffy could indicate a problem. If your child complains that brushing hurts, their teeth and gums may be sore from gum disease.
Effects of Gum Disease
Children who suffer from gum disease can have both short-term and long-term effects. Your child may experience temporary tooth sensitivity, especially if their gums are beginning to pull back from their teeth to reveal tooth roots. The sensitivity may range from mild to severe depending on how advanced the gum disease has gotten.
Your child may also experience a loss of alveolar bone. This is the bone that helps hold the teeth in place, also known as the tooth’s socket. When alveolar bone is lost, teeth can become loose. This increases the chances that your child may lose their teeth as a result of gum disease. A checkup with your dentist can determine if gum disease is the culprit behind loose or sensitive teeth!
What You Can Do
If your child hasn’t been getting regular dental checkups, now’s the time to start! Your local dentist can examine your child’s teeth and look for signs of gum disease. If gum disease is present, your dentist will likely conduct a deep cleaning to clear away plaque and any infection around the tooth roots to help restore oral health.
However, this is only part of the treatment. Addressing the habits that made gum disease possible will also be part of your visit. Although sometimes a child will be reluctant to take advice from a parent, hearing it from a dentist can make a difference. Your kid-friendly dentist can help motivate your child to take better care of their smile!
Gum disease in children can go unnoticed until signs and symptoms begin to appear. Take your child in for regular dental exams to ensure his or her teeth and gums are healthy. If signs of gum disease are apparent in-between visits, schedule a visit sooner. Encourage your child to brush, floss, and eat healthy. We only get one set of adult teeth!