top of page

Gum Disease in Children: Challenges and Treatment Strategies

A child sits on a dentist’s procedure chair.

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection that affects the gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth. Even though we usually think only adults can be affected by it, kids can also have this problem, and it can turn severe in some cases. About 50 percent of children suffer from gum disease today. But the good news is that it is preventable and treatable.

Children with gum disease may face challenges affecting their oral health and overall well-being. The best results require a proactive, multidisciplinary approach involving parents and dental professionals.

Read more to learn some challenges and treatment strategies for gum disease in children.

Gum Disease Challenges in Children

1. Difficulty in Diagnosis Gum disease in children can be challenging to diagnose because symptoms are often mild, and children may not be uncomfortable. However, parents and caregivers need to be aware of the signs of gum disease, which include swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, and changes in bite or tooth alignment. If you notice any of these symptoms, scheduling a dental appointment as soon as possible is essential.

2. Lack of Awareness Many people are not aware that children can get gum disease, which may lead to delayed treatment. It is crucial to spread awareness about their children's gum disease risks. Early detection and treatment can lessen complications and slow the spread of gum disease.

3. Fear of Treatment

Treatment resistance and dental phobia in children make it difficult to control the condition. It is essential to talk to your child about the importance of oral hygiene and the need for dental treatment to prevent and treat gum disease. You can also work with your dentist to create a comfortable and supportive environment for your child during dental appointments.

4. Oral Hygiene Challenges Children who don't practice good oral hygiene may develop gum disease. Parents can help their children develop healthy oral habits by encouraging them to brush their teeth twice and floss once daily. Limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks and teaching them to have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is also important. Treatment Strategies for Gum Disease in Children

Treatment Strategies for Gum Disease in Children

A smiling child brushes her teeth.

1. Professional Dental Cleaning A professional approach is one of the best treatment strategies for gum disease in children. The dentist will use special tools or an ultrasonic device to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. It is important because plaque and tartar buildup can lead to inflammation of the gums if left untreated. It is advised to floss your teeth after removing plaque. This can help make your teeth stronger and prevent cavities and gum disease in the future. The frequency of dental cleanings will depend on the severity of the gum disease and the child's needs. Sometimes, a child may need a dental cleaning every three to four months to help manage the condition.

2. Antibiotics

If a bacterial infection causes gum disease, antibiotics help eliminate the condition. Antibiotics are typically used with other treatments, such as professional dental cleaning and good oral hygiene habits, to help manage gum disease. They kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and prevent the progression of gum disease.

Before prescribing antibiotics, the specialists consider the patient's age, medical history, and disease severity. They also consider potential medication side effects and work with the child and their family to ensure proper drug consumption.

It is important to note that antibiotics are not always necessary to treat gum disease in children and are not a first-line treatment. In addition, it is crucial to use antibiotics appropriately and avoid overuse or misuse. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This can be challenging to treat and may require more aggressive forms of treatment in the future.

3. Fluoride Treatment Fluoride treatments can be applied to teeth in several ways, like gel, foam, or varnish. Fluoride is typically applied to the teeth using a brush, swab, or tray and left on the teeth for several minutes to allow the fluoride to penetrate the enamel. It is safe and effective for people of all ages and is especially beneficial for those whose teeth are still developing. The risk of developing cavities and tooth decay after fluoride treatment is comparatively less.

4. Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing (SRP) is a standard dental procedure for treating gum disease, also known as periodontitis. The process involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and root surfaces below the gum line and smoothing out any rough spots on the roots. This helps prevent bacteria from accumulating and causing further damage to the gums and bone. If you suspect your child has gum disease, it's essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.

5. Dental Sealants The doctors recommend dental sealants to protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. The molars and premolars, most susceptible to decay, receive a thin plastic coating on their surfaces. Dental sealants can be a particularly effective way to protect children's teeth from cavities, as their developing teeth are more vulnerable to decay than adult teeth. The application of dental sealants is a painless and non-invasive procedure. The teeth are first cleaned and dried, and then a special gel is applied to roughen the surface of the teeth. The sealant material is then used and hardened with a special light. Once the sealant is in place, it forms a protective barrier that prevents food particles and bacteria from getting trapped in the grooves and crevices of the teeth. This lowers the chances of developing cavities and tooth decay.

To find out more about your child's dental sealants and gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

The Children’s Dental Center is a pediatric dental clinic that offers all pediatric dental services for your child. Our experienced dentists concentrate on delivering superior dental care to your child, aiming to make them feel at ease every time they visit us. We help your child maintain a healthy, beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Contact us for more details.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page