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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

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GUM DISEASE IN CHILDREN

           39% of Children have gum disease

     Many people think of periodontal disease as an adult problem. However, studies indicate that gingivitis (the first stage of periodontal disease) is nearly a universal finding in children and adolescents. Advanced forms of periodontal disease are more rare in children than adults, but can occur.

39% of Children have gum disease!

Types of periodontal diseases in children

Chronic gingivitis is common in children.

     It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.

Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. Localized aggressive periodontitis is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus.

Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.

As with adults, periodontitis associated with systemic disease occurs in children and adolescents. Conditions that make children more susceptible to periodontal disease include
bulletType I diabetes
bulletDown syndrome
bulletPapillon-Lefevre syndrome
For example, in a survey of 263 Type I diabetics, 11 to 18 years of age, 10 percent had overt periodontitis.

 
Signs of periodontal disease
Four basic signs will alert you to periodontal disease in your child:
bulletBleeding - Bleeding gums during tooth brushing, flossing or any other time.  This is caused by toxins created by bacteria that irritate the gums making them tender and can lead to bleeding.
bulletPuffiness - Swollen and bright red gums
bulletRecession - Gums that have receded away from the teeth, sometimes exposing the roots
bulletBad breath - Constant bad breath that does not clear up with brushing and flossing

Children can brush anywhere!

Children can brush anywhere! Even in the bathtub!
 
Adolescence and oral care
Evidence shows that periodontal disease may increase during adolescence due to lack of motivation to practice oral hygiene. Children who maintain good oral health habits up until the teen years are more likely to continue brushing and flossing than children who were not taught proper oral care.
Hormonal changes related to puberty can put teens at greater risk for getting periodontal disease.

Hormonal changes related to puberty can put teens at greater risk for getting periodontal disease. During puberty, an increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum's sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.

As a teen progresses through puberty, the tendency for the gums to swell in response to irritants will lessen. However, during puberty, it is very important to follow a good at-home oral hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental care. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.

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          If you have any questions please e-mail me at: drdpeterson@scottsbluff.net
                                                                                 308-436-3491 Office number

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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