Gingivitis, gum disease, and periodontal disease are all different stages of the same condition that affects an estimated three out of four adult Americans. Adults over 20 years old are most at risk, but kids’ dentists also see patients with advanced stages of gingivitis. It’s an inflammation of the gums caused by tartar buildup and bacteria growth. It starts as red, puffy gums, but, without intervention, those symptoms escalate into more advanced stages of gum disease.
What Is Gingivitis?
There are four main stages of gum disease, and gingivitis is the first and most common. Children with gingivitis have inflamed gums that look especially red, and they might bleed during brushing and flossing. Children are especially at risk of developing it because it’s caused by plaque buildup on teeth. Not brushing properly or as often as recommended is a direct cause of those puffy, red gums. While the most minor of the gum disease stages, gingivitis is the open door leading to serious cases of periodontitis. If it isn’t addressed by a kids’ dentist during the early years, symptoms will go on to include receding bone and tissue around the teeth and eventual tooth loss.
Can It Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent gingivitis in children is to encourage habitual oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day will stop plaque from accumulating on teeth and turning into a hard substance called tartar. Children who eat a lot of sweets should also rinse their mouths with water after indulging in a favorite snack. That will keep plaque from sticking to teeth between cleanings. Once gingivitis sets in, more advanced stages of gum disease aren’t guaranteed. It’s always possible to reverse the effects with proper cleaning.
While gingivitis works to destroy a child’s smile, the good news is it’s completely preventable. Both parents and children in Anchorage choose the kids’ dentist at Alaska Dentistry for Kids for everything from regular checkups to dental emergencies. Dr. Chris Coplin is committed to the care of his young patients, and his staff maintains a friendly and comfortable environment. Schedule an appointment by calling (907) 274-2525 or visit the kids’ dentist online for more information.