Gum Disease during Adolescence
Good dental hygiene is important at all times throughout life, but particularly during puberty as the hormonal changes can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. At this time levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone increase the amount of blood circulating to the gums. This in turn can increase the gums sensitivity towards any irritation, including plaque bacteria. There is a risk at this time of the gums becoming swollen, red and increasingly tender as they become inflamed and infected.
As puberty progresses the gums response to plaque bacteria will begin to decrease. During this time is important that your teenager follows a good oral hygiene routine every day, including twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. In addition it’s important they visit their pediatric dentist at regular intervals. The dentist may recommend additional treatments such as professional cleanings or even periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the gum tissues and to the bone surrounding teeth.
Avoiding and Treating Gum Disease
If your child does develop gum disease, then early diagnosis is important for ensuring treatment is a success. Their pediatric dentist will assess the health of their gums at every checkup and can recommend the correct treatment if any signs are found. Early gum disease can be very successfully treated with professional teeth cleaning and improved dental hygiene at home. It can be trickier to treat advanced periodontal disease and it may require specialized care. It’s far better to establish a good preventative dental health routine so your child does not develop gum disease.
You can begin by helping your child to establish good dental hygiene habits early on in life. Make sure you brush and floss their teeth until they are old enough to carry out this task themselves. Once they do begin to brush and floss by themselves you will need to supervise them, and ask your pediatric dentist to give them advice on how to brush properly. Children learn by example, so make sure you have good dental hygiene habits. Schedule regular dental visits for the whole family, and these should include professional cleanings. Check your child’s mouth at regular intervals for any signs of periodontal disease. If you do notice any early symptoms then contact your dentist for advice.