If your teenager is diagnosed with gingivitis he may think that he has some sort of disease and he would be right! Gingivitis is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue and is most commonly caused by plaque buildup. The good news is that at this stage of gum disease a simple change in oral health habits can help turn things around.
The signs and symptoms of gingivitis include redness of the gum tissue and gums that bleed after brushing and flossing. The teeth may become more sensitive to hot or cold and normal chewing can cause pain. A pediatric dentist can evaluate the symptoms and make a definite diagnosis.
Part of the examination will include measuring the depth of the spaces between the teeth and the receding gums. Theses spaces are referred to as “pockets,” and the measurements will tell the dentist how extensive the damage is. X-rays may also be useful. Once the presence of gingivitis has been confirmed treatment can begin.
Most cases of gingivitis can be controlled beginning with a deep cleaning treatment and following up with a continuous home regimen of twice daily brushing and flossing, following a healthy diet and scheduling regular dental visits. A patient will need more frequent cleanings until the gums are back to a healthier state, probably every three or four months at first. A dentist or hygienist may administer an oral antibiotic and suggest an antibiotic mouthwash.
The main point to get across to a teenager is the importance of his own role in the prevention of any further progression of gum disease. If he isn’t dedicated to taking the steps to maintain he may be facing serious periodontitis which can mean that he will be at risk of losing teeth. Avoiding soda and sports drinks along with sugary and starchy snacks may be the hardest part of prevention for a teen. Parents can help by making sure that there are fruits and vegetables on hand and plenty of water in the fridge.
If you suspect that your teenager may be experiencing the symptoms of gingivitis schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist at Dentist 4 Kidz in Aurora, CO. Call 303-367-1502.