What is gum disease and how can I prevent it?
While many people believe periodontal disease is an adult problem, studies indicate gingivitis (the first stage of periodontal disease) is nearly a universal problem among children and adolescents.
Advanced forms of periodontal disease are less common in children than adults, but can occur.
Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It can cause gum tissue to swell, redden and bleed easily. Gingivitis is preventable and treatable with routine brushing, flossing and professional dental care. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more serious form of periodontal disease.
Localized aggressive periodontitis can affect otherwise healthy children. It is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by severe loss of alveolar bone and, ironically, patients generally develop very little dental plaque or calculus.
Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and affect the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulation of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.
Conditions which make children more susceptible to periodontal disease include:
- Type I diabetes
- Down Syndrome
- Papillon-Lefevre syndrome