The term periodontal disease often confuses people. They’re not sure what it means exactly, and more importantly, they often assume that it’s reserved as an adult-only problem. The truth is that there are three types of periodontal disease, some more common than others, and they can happen to adolescents just as easily as they occur in adults. It’s important to check for these types of problems early and often because without proper treatment, they can develop into serious issues that will haunt your child’s teeth throughout their adult life.
Gingivitis is the most common form of periodontal disease. Simply put, gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that occurs because the bacteria that accumulate on the surface of a tooth has entered into the gums. It’s generally considered to be a non-destructive form of periodontal disease and can be easily treated. However, leaving it untreated will lead to more serious problems. If your child has complained of bleeding gums, swelling, or redness around their teeth, take them to the dentist to be examined for the possibility of gingivitis.
Aggressive or Chronic Periodontal Disease
Although this form of periodontal disease mostly affects adults, it can occur in the early teenage years. Both aggressive and chronic affect incisors and first molars, causing bone loss and weakening gums to the point that teeth could be lost as well. Like gingivitis, this form of periodontal disease will cause bleeding in the gums, redness, and swelling.
Generalized Periodontal Disease
Just like the former, generalized periodontal disease has the same issues, but it affects the whole mouth. Generalized periodontal disease also leads to accumulation of plaque. With this generalized form, all of your teeth are in danger as well as all of your gums.
Regular teeth cleanings are usually the best way to keep gingivitis and the more serious periodontal disease from developing in adolescents. Make sure that your teenager is going to the dentist and brushing their teeth just as regularly as they did when they were smaller. It’s also a good idea to alert your dentist if your child has complained about sensitivity or bleeding when they brush.