Puberty gingivitis is a preventable form of gingivitis that can develop in children during their puberty. Here, our West Kelowna dental team explains what causes this condition and how to prevent it.
Puberty gingivitis is a very common but not necessarily well-known condition that affects teenagers and pre-teens. As with any kind of gingivitis, it may become a more serious periodontal disease if not promptly identified and treated.
What causes puberty gingivitis?
Puberty gingivitis is most common in per-adolescent children who are between the ages of 11 and 13 years old.
At this time, kids will often begin to assert their independence. As part of this, their dietary and oral hygiene habits may go downhill because of a reduction in parental supervision.
Puberty gingivitis is usually caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene habits and diet, combined with elevated hormone levels during puberty (which increase the sensitivity of the gums to accumulated dental plaque). Poor nutrition can make it challenging for the body to fight off infections, which puts 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.
When the immune system is under continuous stress, it becomes weakened and inflammation is increased. High levels of stress, combined with poor oral health and hygiene, can cause 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 treatments and therapies at your dentist's office may help to get it under control. Mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine can be used to control the infection as well. Your dentist will be able to advise your teenager on the correct flossing and brushing routine and technique to help them to maintain their oral health all throughout their life.