Puberty gingivitis is a common but little-known condition that affects preteens and teenagers. As with any form of gingivitis, if not identified and treated early on, it can progress to more serious periodontal disease.
What causes 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 typically caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and diet, as well as increased hormone levels during puberty (which increase the sensitivity of the gums to accumulated dental plaque). Poor nutrition can make it difficult for the body to fight infections, putting children at 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 already has gingivitis, periodontal therapy at your dentist's office may help to control it. Chlorhexidine-containing mouthwashes can also be used to treat the infection. Our dentists will also advise your teen on proper brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.