Believe it or not, gum disease is quite common among U.S. adults. A recent CDC report found that 47% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease. That number increases as you age, jumping up to 70% of adults aged 65 years and older.
While advanced gum disease is not common in children, they can be affected by what is known as gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. If left untreated, it can develop into a more serious condition later. Learn the signs and symptoms of gum disease and teach good oral hygiene habits now to prevent problems in the future.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an infection of the gums. It can occur in children of all ages. It develops when bacteria in the mouth form a sticky covering called plaque on teeth and around the gum line. Plaque is what creates that fuzzy, filmy feeling on your teeth when you have not brushed in a while.
If plaque is not removed through brushing and flossing, it begins to harden into a yellow or brown deposit on the teeth within 24 to 72 hours (about 3 days). This is what is known as tartar. Tartar attracts more bacteria and over time can cause infections along the gumline.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums, especially while brushing
- Bad breath
- Sore gums
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
- Small gaps or pockets between the teeth and gums
How to prevent gingivitis
The most effective way to prevent gingivitis in children is to establish good oral hygiene habits when they are young. Both children and adolescents should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing once a day is also recommended.
Regular brushing and flossing will eliminate most of the plaque found in the mouth, but not all. That is why visiting a pediatric dentist every six months for professional teeth cleaning is so important. In addition, x-rays and dental exams are also necessary for gingivitis prevention and to alert your child’s dentist to any underlying problems.
Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is a pediatric dentist practice with offices in Hoover, Birmingham, Cullman, Oxford, and Pell City, Alabama. Our staff is uniquely trained and highly skilled, and we strive to provide unparalleled service to each patient. Our staff consists of team members with specialized training and certifications, and years of experience in treating patients with the highest level of care. We strive to stay abreast of the very latest in technology and advances by regularly attending continuing education courses and seminars.
To experience the difference and “why us,” schedule your appointment with your child’s dental office today!