While many people believe periodontal disease is an adult problem, studies indicate that gingivitis (the first stage of periodontal disease) is nearly a universal problem among children and adolescents. Advanced forms of periodontal disease are more rare in children than adults, but can occur.
Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It can cause gum tissue to swell, turn red, and bleed easily. Gingivitis is preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and professional dental care. If left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.
Localized aggressive periodontitis, while rare, can affect otherwise healthy children. It is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus. It is one of the conditions we screen for at every dental check-up.
Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Every year we see teenage patients who are at risk for periodontitis. Educating these young people in the importance of taking care of their gums is something we take very seriously.