Adult Dentistry | Child Dentistry | Orthodontics | Oral Hygiene | Gum Disease | Tooth Restoration | Tooth Replacement | Cosmetic Dentistry | Baby Teething
Simply Teeth.com
About adult teeth and gums, tooth growth and eruption, caring for teeth and gums, tooth repair or replacement, cosmetic dentistry and adult orthodontics, dental pain and pain control, oral medicine and general dental subjectsInformation on children's teeth and gums, tooth eruption and childhood growth, caring for a child's teeth and gums, tooth repair and children's orthodontics, mouth pain and pain control in children, childhood dental subjects and oral medicineDental terminology dictionary for definitions of dental termsA to Z reference index of dental subjectsA guide to dental insuranceLegal disclaimer for SimplyTeethTeeth and dental information for adults and children, dental care guide and dentistry information
childList
1. Category

 

Google
>
>
Section Questions and Answers

Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) In Children

"Safe and effective measures exist to prevent the most common dental diseases ... dental caries and periodontal diseases... These measures include daily oral hygiene procedures." - U.S. Surgeon General's Report

  1. What does "periodontal" mean?
  2. Which are the periodontal tissues?
  3. What is periodontal disease?
  4. What causes periodontal disease?
  5. What are dental plaque, calculus and tartar?
  6. What else can cause gingivitis and periodontitis?
  7. What other periodontal problems can children develop?
  8. What can I do to protect my children from periodontal disease?
  9. How is gingivitis treated?
  10. How is gingival enlargement treated?

 
1. What does "periodontal" mean?

  • Periodontal means "surrounding the teeth". Peri means around or surrounding, while dontal refers to teeth.
  • The tissues surrounding the teeth are called Periodontal tissues.
  • A Periodontist specialises in treatment of the periodontal tissues.

Return to Questions

 
2. Which are the periodontal tissues?

  • The periodontal tissues are:
    • Gums (also called gingiva). Gums consist of soft, pink tissue, which covers the alveolar bone.
    • The gum line is where the tooth meets the gum.
    • Bone (alveolar bone). This is the bone in which the roots of teeth are embedded.
    • Periodontal membrane or ligament. This connects and attaches the root of the tooth to the bone.

Click to enlarge
The tooth

Click to enlarge
Normal gums

Return to Questions

 
3. What is periodontal disease?

A. Gingivitis

  • This is an inflammation or infection of the gums only.
  • It can be recognised by:
    • A change in the colour of gums from pink to red or bluish red.
    • Swelling of the gum margins closest to the teeth.
    • Blood on the toothbrush during brushing.
    • It is the most common form of periodontal disease in children.
    • Up to 35% of children between the ages of 3 and 5 have at least some symptoms of gingivitis.
    • The incidence in adolescence may increase to 90%.

Click to enlarge
Gingivitis

B. Periodontitis

  • This is a destructive infection that can affect all the periodontal tissues, that is, the gums, the underlying bone and the connecting tissues.
  • About 20% of adolescents (14-17 years) develop adult periodontitis, but the disease is rare in young children.

Juvenile periodontitis

Click to enlarge
Gum loss
between teeth
Click to enlarge
X-ray showing
bone loss

Click to enlarge
  • Early onset periodontitis
    • A small percentage of children (approximately 1%) develop this form of the disease.
    • It is a rapidly developing and very destructive form of periodontitis.
    • It is associated with a blood cell (leucocyte) disorder.
    • The disease may be localised to a few teeth or it may be generalised.
    • It is caused by specific bacteria, and is treated by a combination of antibiotic and surgical therapy.

Click to enlarge
Periodontitis
(rapidly progressing)
Click to enlarge
X-ray showing
bone loss

Return to Questions

 
4. What causes periodontal disease?

  • Dental plaque is the major cause of gingivitis and periodontitis.
    • The bacteria in the plaque are the major offenders.
    • The effects of plaque can be even more damaging if the patient is in poor health, or has a low resistance to disease.
  • Periodontal disease is unlikely to be transmitted from one person to another.

Return to Questions

 
5. What are dental plaque, calculus and tartar?

  • Dental plaque is a mass of bacteria and other organic material that accumulates on the teeth.
    • It can not be rinsed off, but it can be removed by brushing and flossing.
    • The longer that plaque is allowed to remain on teeth, the greater are the risks of gum disease.
    • Diets rich in soft, sticky, carbohydrate food with a high sugar content encourage plaque formation.
  • If plaque is not removed, it can harden to form calculus, also called tartar.
    • Calculus causes gum problems. It should be removed by your dentist or hygienist, as brushing will not do so.
    • Calculus occurs more often in older children.

See Diet and Decay

Return to Questions

 
6. What else can cause gingivitis and periodontitis?

  • There are many causes of gingivitis and periodontitis:
    • Puberty can make children more vulnerable to inflammatory gingivitis.
    • Medical problems such as blood or genetic disorders, or diabetes can predispose children to periodontal disease.
    • Mouth breathing results in the drying of the mouth and gums, and can cause gingivitis.
    • Orthodontic appliances make oral hygiene more difficult and this can lead to inflamed gums.
    • Gum disease that is not related to dental plaque can be caused by viruses (herpes), fungi (candidiasis or thrush) or bacteria.
    • Medications such as anti-epileptic Dilantin, and anti-rejection Cyclosporin can cause gingival overgrowth in children.

Click to enlarge
Puberty gingivitis
Click to enlarge
Gingival overgrowth
Click to enlarge
After gum surgery

See Oral Medicine

Return to Questions

 
7. What other periodontal problems can children develop?

  • Periodontal problems are usually the result of infection or injury:
    • Gums can be injured by hot foods such as pizza, or damaged by excessive incorrect toothbrushing.
    • An abscess or gumboil can be caused by food particles being trapped between the gum and the tooth.
    • An infection can occur under a flap of loose gum around an erupting tooth.
    • This is dealt with by removing trapped food particles, which are usually the cause of the problem. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
    • Allergies to foods or some toothpastes can cause gingivitis.
    • Gum recession is sometimes seen around the lower front permanent teeth.
    • It occurs if the permanent teeth grow and erupt too far forward in the mouth.
    • It may also be the result of orthodontic treatment.

Return to Questions

 
8. What can I do to protect my children from periodontal disease?

  • Parents should start taking their children to the dentist by the age of three or four.
  • Children should be taught and encouraged to brush and floss their teeth early on.
    Brushing should be supervised, or done for them until they are sufficiently competent to do it on their own.
  • Provide a healthy diet for your children.
    Keep sweets (candies) and sweet drinks to a minimum!

See Toothbrushing and Cleaning Between the Teeth

Return to Questions

 
9. How is gingivitis treated?

  • Gingivitis can be treated and reversed by professional treatment and good oral hygiene.

Return to Questions

 
10. How is gingival enlargement treated?

  • Dental plaque plays a major part in the development of the problem and must be removed through good oral hygiene and professional cleaning.
  • The enlargements may need to be reduced surgically.

Return to Questions

Copyright 2012 of Simplyteeth - All rights reserved.
The material contained in Simplyteeth.com is offered as information only, see our full legal disclaimer.

This website has been invisibly watermarked to protect the copyright.

Site Map