What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a destructive condition that is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria produce toxins that irritate and infect the gum tissues, and the body’s response is to produce antibodies to try to fight the infection. The resulting battle between the bacteria and the antibodies creates inflammation in the gums. The gum tissues become increasingly swollen as the disease worsens, eventually pulling away from the teeth and the tooth roots. The disease can destroy gum tissues and the surroundings structures, including the ligaments holding the teeth in their sockets, and the surrounding bone.
Gum disease is not just an adult disease, as children can develop chronic gingivitis and periodontitis, conditions that can be painful and which may cause the teeth to become loose. Signs to be aware of include bleeding gums, especially during brushing and flossing, gums that look puffy or bright red, or which have begun to pull away from the teeth, even exposing the roots. In addition your child may have bad breath that doesn’t clear up after brushing and flossing.
Chronic gingivitis or early gum disease is quite common in children and can cause the gum tissues to become red and to bleed easily, and to swell up. This form of gum disease can be prevented and treated through regular brushing and flossing and good professional dental care. If these early signs are ignored then chronic gingivitis will eventually develop into a more serious form of periodontal disease.
This can affect teenagers and young adults who are otherwise healthy, and the condition is usually found around the first molars and incisors. It is serious and it can cause jaw bone loss. Most cases of periodontal disease are caused by a buildup of plaque and calculus or tartar, but children with aggressive periodontitis don’t usually have this symptom.
Generalized Aggressive Periodontitis
This condition can develop around puberty and will affect the entire mouth. The gums can become extensively inflamed, and there is likely to be quite a heavy buildup of plaque and tartar. Without treatment the teeth will become loose.