Also known as gingivitis or periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection that occurs in the gums, deep tissues, and bones that support the teeth. A child is at risk if home care or regular dental cleanings are lacking. If ignored and left untreated, gum disease can cause permanent tooth and bone loss.
Plaque is naturally produced by the mouth and is a sticky substance made from leftover food particles and saliva. When not removed, plaque hardens and becomes tartar which irritates the gums and causes them to swell. This first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and is very common in children. Gums may be swollen and red and bleed when a child brushes or flosses.
Untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontitis. The buildup of plaque and tartar leads to inflammation of gum tissue causes the gum to shrink away from tooth resulting in receding gums, loosening of teeth and loss of bone. It is generally found in teenagers and young adults.
When gingivitis first develops there is usually no pain, so it is important to watch for symptoms in your child.
Initial signs and symptoms can include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums bleed easily during brushing or flossing
- Gums that look receded or that pull away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath even after brushing
- Loose teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact our office immediately. We can diagnose the problem, determine how far the disease has progressed, and recommend an appropriate treatment.