During puberty, children can develop a preventable disease called puberty gingivitis. Today, our Quesnel dentists explain how it's caused and how to prevent it.
While puberty gingivitis is very common, pre-teens, teenagers and parents are often not aware of the condition. As with any form of gingivitis, it can advance to more serious periodontal disease if it's not caught and treated early on.
What causes puberty gingivitis?
Puberty gingivitis is most commonly seen in preadolescent girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 13.
In this timeframe, kids often become somewhat more independent, and dietary and oral hygiene habits can go downhill due to reduced parental supervision.
Puberty gingivitis is typically caused by a combination of diet, poor oral hygiene habits and elevated hormone levels during puberty (which contribute to more sensitivity in the gums to accumulated dental plaque). Poor nutrition can make it difficult for the body to fight off or overcome infections, which leaves children at a higher risk of developing gum disease.
Teens who smoke, vape, or chew tobacco tend to be more likely to contract gum disease than non-smoking peers.
Being under continuous stress weakens the immune system and increases inflammation. High-stress levels, combined with poor oral health and hygiene, can cause gum disease to develop over time.
This combination of factors makes gingivitis more of a risk for young people going through puberty than it would be at other times in their lives.
Puberty gingivitis symptoms include bleeding and inflammation of the gums. The gum tissue may also become red, swollen, and less firm to the touch. Bad breath can also be a symptom.
The best "treatment" for puberty gingivitis is prevention!
As your children get older and more independent, they may be less inclined to listen to their parents about maintaining good oral health. Parents must remain firm on this point to prevent gum disease from developing.
Ensure that your pre-teen brushes thoroughly for two full minutes in the morning and again before bed, and flosses carefully at least once a day.
If your child has already developed gingivitis, periodontal therapy at your dentist’s office may help to get it under control. Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine can be used to control the infection as well. Our Quesnel dentists will also advise your teen on the correct brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.