People often consider that gum disease and periodontitis are conditions that only affect older people and only if they'd been negligent in caring for their teeth, over time. However, this isn't the case and gum disease can manifest itself in children at a relatively young age. What do you need to be on the lookout for and how can you avoid this development?

The Different Stages

There are various different stages of gum disease, and the initial level is known as chronic gingivitis. Strangely, it's quite prevalent in children and this may well have to do with high sugar in the simple diets that parents give to these youngsters. Gingivitis is characterised by gum tissue that tends to bleed quite easily and can often be seen to be swollen during a cursory examination. It's very important to create and maintain a specific regimen on a daily basis, as gingivitis can be both prevented and treated by doing so. Make sure that your children know how to floss and brush their teeth properly and never rush through this activity, as they may be prone to.

What Should You Be Looking for?

If you see any signs of bleeding when they are flossing or brushing this should be a sign to schedule a visit to your dentist. If your child complains of some sensitivity and appears to be swelling, have general "puffiness" around the gums, or if they are bright red in colour these are extra warning signs. Sometimes, the gums may start to recede showing more of the tooth and in fact even exposing roots. If you notice halitosis (or bad breath) and this doesn't appear to clear itself with an elevated flossing and brushing routine, you need the dentist to intervene.

Hormonal Changes

It's long been suspected that puberty has a bearing on the general oral health of adolescents. This is because hormonal changes can cause changes in blood circulation within the gums. Some of these hormones (like estrogen) can lead to greater sensitivity and inflammation. Then, when food particles and plaque become embedded around the teeth, this can make the gums far more sensitive, tender and swollen.

Being on Watch

During adolescence it may be necessary to increase the number of visits to their dentist, to try and avoid some of these problems developing and before they get out of control. At all times parents should keep on top of their children, to ensure that they are maintaining their daily regimen. It's also a good idea to switch their diet away from foods that are high in sugar, as children develop.