What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a relatively mild form of gum disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. While it’s common for many children and adults to have gingivitis, it’s not something that should be overlooked. If left untreated, it can become a more serious form of gum disease that can adversely affect the teeth.
How Do I Know If My Child Has Gingivitis?
If your child complains of sore or bleeding gums, this is often one of the primary signs of gingivitis. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) cites the following symptoms as other common signs of the gum disease:
- Sensitive gums that bleed during brushing.
- Swollen gums.
- Bright red gums.
- Teeth that appear longer than normal.
Even if your child’s gums feel sore after brushing or flossing, your child should continue to maintain good oral hygiene. Instruct your child to gently brush along the gum line with a soft-bristle brush.
What Happens If It’s Left Untreated?
In our last post, we briefly mentioned periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis typically affects teenagers and usually takes time to develop because of poor oral hygiene. According to the AAP, aggressive periodontitis can cause loss of the alveolar bone in the molars and incisors. This form of periodontitis doesn’t show signs of plaque build-up, making it difficult to detect.
How To Prevent Gingivitis
- Establishing a pattern of brushing after meals is a great way to avoid gum and tooth disease. Once your child becomes used to routine brushing, he or she is more likely to continue the habit in the future.
- Monitor your child (especially young children) to make sure he or she is brushing thoroughly.
- Avoid sugary, chewy candy.
- Encourage your child to drink water rather than juice and soda. Fruit juices tend to have a lot of sugar, which creates a build-up of bacteria in the mouth.
- Schedule routine visits to the dentist.