Gingivitis is tender, swollen gums. It’s the first stage of gum disease. If gingivitis is not treated, the bacteria causing the problem may attack the bones and other tissues that support your child’s teeth. The bacteria can destroy the bone. Your child’s teeth may get loose and need to be pulled.
Gingivitis is most common in children 6 to 7 years of age when the permanent teeth start coming in.
Gingivitis is most often caused by bacteria in plaque. Plaque is a sticky material that builds up on your child’s teeth. It is made of mucus, saliva, food particles, acids, and bacteria. If it’s not removed with daily brushing and flossing, plaque can lead to cavities, a hard buildup called tartar, and gum disease.
Other things that can lead to gingivitis are:
Mental or physical stress can make gum disease worse.
Symptoms may include:
Your child’s dentist will examine his teeth, gums, and jaw. The dentist will check to see if your child has any tooth decay or bone or gum loss.
Treatment starts with professional cleaning of your teeth. The dentist or dental hygienist will remove tartar and plaque from the surfaces of your child’s teeth. After the tartar and plaque are removed and the tooth and root surfaces are clean, the tissue can heal.
Other treatments may include:
If your child has diabetes, the health of his gums needs to be checked regularly. Diabetes makes it harder for your child’s body, including gum tissue, to heal. It may also cause your child to have less saliva. Saliva helps reduce acid and washes away debris.
The best way to prevent gum disease is good dental hygiene.
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