Teens and Gum Disease

When you think about gum disease – do you think about it as a disease that only affects the elderly? That’s really not the case. Gum disease can be found in anyone – at any stage in life – and that includes teens.

What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue. It occurs when plaque, a soft, sticky film containing bacteria, builds up on your teeth. This infection, if left untreated, can cause damage to your gums and tooth loss. Additionally, if the infection enters your bloodstream, it can cause infections in other parts of your body, potentially damaging your heart and other vital organs.

What Things Put Teens at Risk for Gum Disease?

When it comes to teens and gum diseases, there are certain things that put them at risk for developing periodontal disease:

  • Heredity – Teens may be prone to gum disease if their parents are prone to gum disease.
  • Diet – A diet filled with sugary or starchy foods may increase the risk of developing gum disease.
  • Oral Hygiene – If teens do not properly brush and floss each day, along with having regular dental checkups, they may find they are at increased risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, braces may make cleaning the teeth more difficult, so extra care should be taken.
  • Stress – Stress increases a person’s chance of developing infections.
  • Hormonal Changes – Especially in females, hormonal changes can increase the risk.
  • Smoking – Using tobacco also increases the chance of developing gum disease.

How Do You Treat Gum Disease in Teens?

When detected early, gum disease can be reversed. Usually, this involves more diligence in oral hygiene and the use of products designed to treat periodontal disease. Your dentist may also recommend an antibiotic to treat the infection.

If gum disease advances, more advanced treatment may be needed.

Teens should be encouraged to practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis. Additionally, a healthy diet, reducing one’s stress and not using tobacco can also help.