This condition may be very common, but it's not very well-known. It can develop in preteens and teenagers. Like any type of gingivitis, puberty gingivitis can progress to more serious periodontal disease if it's not identified and treated early on.
What causes puberty gingivitis?
Puberty gingivitis is usually found in preadolescent boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 13.
During these years, kids often start to grow somewhat more independent, and their dietary and oral hygiene habits can decline with reduced parental supervision.
Puberty gingivitis is typically caused by a combination of diet and poor oral hygiene habits, along with elevated hormone levels during puberty (these increase the sensitivity of gums to dental plaque that builds up). Poor nutrition can make it challenging for the body to fight off infections. This leaves children at a higher risk for 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 Calgary dentists will also advise your teen on the correct brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.