There are a few unfortunate misconceptions out there in the dental world, and one such myth is the idea that periodontal disease (gum disease) and other infections like gingivitis can only affect adults. While these conditions do indeed impact adults regularly, they can also be found in adolescents and even younger children, and should be protected against.
At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dental services include a wide range of areas meant to help protect against these conditions, from regular cleanings to pediatric fluoride treatments and many others. Let’s look at the different conditions we’re talking about here, how they can affect your child’s mouth, and what you can do to prevent and treat them if they’re a risk to your child.
Gingivitis is a well-known dental condition that impacts the gums specifically. It leads to gum inflammation and swollen, red spots in the area.
Luckily, gingivitis is the first and mildest form of periodontal disease, and can be treated and reversed easily. Doing so will require a professional cleaning and daily brushing to remove plaque from the teeth and gums, plus flossing to remove any remaining food particles. Responding to gingivitis before it evolves into something more significant is important.
One reason it’s important to address gingivitis: If it’s not treated, it can lead to periodontitis, a more significant stage of gum disease that impacts not only the gums themselves, but also the underlying bone that supports their teeth. If periodontitis progresses far enough, it can lead to teeth loosening due to a lack of support, eventually requiring removal.
In other cases, periodontitis can become a more significant infection that impacts other areas of the body. Bacteria from the resulting infection can spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream, creating major health concerns in some situations.
Periodontal disease, on the other hand, is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments and bones that surround and support the teeth. It can lead to everything from swelling and tenderness to gums receding from the teeth, and can also cause tooth loss if it’s not addressed properly.
The top prevention method for periodontal disease is the same as gingivitis and periodontitis: Strong oral habits like brushing and flossing. In addition, twice-yearly tooth cleanings from a pediatric dentist are vital for children – both for the way they protect the teeth and gum areas and for the opportunity they give your child’s dentist to examine their mouth and look for early signs of these conditions beginning to take shape.
For more on preventing and responding to signs of gingivitis, periodontitis or periodontal disease, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services and how they prevent gum disease risks, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.