Puberty gingivitis can develop in children during puberty. Here, our dentists in Vancouver explain what causes this preventable condition and how it can be avoided.
While puberty gingivitis is very common in preteens and teenagers, the condition is not very well-known as it isn't often discussed. Like with any form of gingivitis, it can progress to more serious periodontal disease if not identified and treated early on.
What causes puberty gingivitis?
Puberty gingivitis is most common in preadolescent girls and boys who are between the ages of 11 and 13.
It's during these years that kids often start to assert some more independence, and their oral hygiene and dietary habits can slide downhill due to reduced parental supervision.
Typically, puberty gingivitis is caused by a combination of diet and poor oral hygiene habits, combined with elevated hormone levels during puberty (which increase gum sensitivity to dental plaque that builds up). Poor nutrition can make it challenging for the body to fight off infections, which leaves children at a higher risk for developing gum disease.
Teens who chew tobacco, vape or smoke tend to be more likely to contract gum disease than their non-smoking peers.
In addition, being under continuous stress increases inflammation and weakens the immune system. Poor oral health and hygiene combined with high stress levels can cause gum disease to develop gradually.
This combination of factors makes gingivitis more of a risk for young people going through puberty than it would be at other times during 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 Vancouver dentists will also advise your teen on the correct brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.