submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S., Bucks County Dental Design
As your child moves into the “double digits”, new dental issues often materialize. Puberty brings more than mood swings and acne to your developing child.
Puberty can also lead to puberty gingivitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and is the cause of bone loss, bad breath and a myriad of other symptoms. Puberty gingivitis commonly appears in children between the age 11 and 13 and can continue through the teen years, if not treated.
This condition is a result of elevated hormone levels combined with poor home care. Another contributing factor is the parental loss of control over the child’s diet, resulting in the consumption of too much sugar.
In your child’s defense, this condition is not always a result of laziness, lack of attention or poor diet.
Many children in this age group are in the middle of orthodontic treatment which makes home care even more challenging.
The ortho brackets allow the gingival tissue to accumulate plaque around the teeth. The gums get red, puffy, and can bleed. Because of the braces, your child has a difficult time keeping these areas clean.
Puberty gingivitis is an issue that you should not ignore. Like any other chronic health condition, the earlier you attack it, the better chance of a good outcome. Ignoring this common problem can set your child up to having to deal with periodontal issues for many years to come.
The solution is simple. Despite the crazy schedules that middle and high school children maintain, this is not the time to skip regular teeth cleanings and check-ups. Your dental team may recommend more frequent cleanings, or, for more severe cases, even periodontal treatment. Some tools are available at the pharmacy, including Waterpiks and mouth washes specific to periodontal issues.
Puberty is hard enough for your child (and you), without dealing with an issue like puberty gingivitis. The old saying rings true – the best defense is a strong offense. Make a dental appointment today for your hormonal child!