Puberty gingivitis is a form of gingivitis that can develop in children during puberty. Today, our Hamilton dentists explain what causes it and how to prevent it.
Despite being relatively common in teens and preteens, puberty gingivitis is not a very well-known condition. As with any form of gingivitis, it can progress into more serious periodontal disease if it is not caught and treated early on.
What causes puberty gingivitis?
Puberty gingivitis is most common in preadolescent children who are between the ages of 11 and 13.
It is during these formative years that kids often being to assert a little more independence and want little to no help with daily hygiene tasks. Because of this reduced parental supervision, oral health hygiene habits can go downhill.
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).
Stress can also be a factor. These years can be stressful on kids and this stress can weaken their immune systems and increase inflammation, making them all the more susceptible to gum disease, especially when this stress is combined with other factors.
It is also around this time that some preteens begin to experiment with tobacco products. Teens who smoke, vape, or chew tobacco tend to be more likely to contract gum disease than non-smoking peers.
This combination of all these factors greatly heightens the risk for preteens and teens to develop gingivitis.
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.
While you won't be brushing for them, you should still ensure that your child brushes thoroughly for two full minutes in the morning and again before bed. You should also be sure they are flossing 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 Hamilton dentists will also advise your teen on the correct brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.