Puberty gingivitis is a preventable form of gingivitis that can develop in children during puberty. Here, our Ottawa dentists explain what causes it, and how to prevent it.
Puberty gingivitis is a very common but not very well-known condition in preteens and teenagers. As with any form of gingivitis, it may progress to more serious periodontal disease if it is not identified and treated early on.
Causes of Puberty Gingivitis
Puberty gingivitis is most common in preadolescent boys and girls who are between the ages of 11 and 13.
During these years, kids often begin to assert a little more independence, and their dietary and oral hygiene habits can go downhill because of reduced parental supervision.
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). Poor nutrition can make it challenging for the body to fight off infections, which puts children at a higher risk of developing gum disease.
Teens who smoke, vape, or chew tobacco tend to be more likely to contract gum disease than non-smoking peers.
Being under continuous stress weakens the immune system and increases inflammation. High-stress levels, combined with poor oral health and hygiene, can cause gum disease to develop over time.
This combination of factors makes gingivitis more of a risk for young people going through puberty than it would be at other times in 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 Ottawa dentists will also advise your teen on the correct brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.