Teens And Gum Disease

teen with foodDo you think the reason your grandparents lost their teeth was because of old age? Not true. Gum disease is the first and foremost reason people lose their teeth. Here is something else you might not know. Teens can develop gum disease. Because it takes time for gum disease to develop most people don’t show signs of the disease until their 30s, 40s, or later. However, teens can begin developing gum disease, or a milder form of the disease called gingivitis. To learn more about teens and gum disease contact your Encinitas, CA, periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania. Dr. Kania will be happy to explain the risks teens have of developing gum disease.


What Is Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease is the technical name for gum disease. Periodontal disease may begin as gingivitis.  Gingival inflammation may progress to a more serious form of disease–periodontitis–resulting in tooth loss.

Gingivitis: Your mouth is host to billions of bacteria. Some of it is helpful and some harmful. The harmful bacteria feed on the left over sugars and starches that we eat, and form plaque. Plaque is a sticky, invisible layer of biofilm that forms on our teeth. The bacteria that plaque is made of releases toxins that irritate your gums. According to the American Dental Association, within a 24 hour period enough bacteria forms in your mouth to begin causing gum disease. If plaque is not removed by brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings, it hardens into tartar.  Signs of gingivitis include:

  • Swollen Gums
  • Red Gums
  • Tender Gums
  • Bleeding Gums

Periodontitis: Once the bacterial tartar forms it promotes an immune response from your own protective cells.  A chemical battle begins betwen the bacteria and your immune cells.  These chemicals cause tissue damage. The tissue pulls away forming gingival pockets around the base of the teeth. The teeth and gums become more vulnerable to bacteria which gather in the pockets and destroy more tissue. The bacteria eventually spread to and weaken the jawbone supporting the teeth, resulting in tooth loss.

Teens At Risk

Some periodontal disease is genetic; therefore, some teens may be at risk for inheriting gum disease. Teens with poor eating habits and dental habits may be at higher risk for developing gum disease. Snacking on healthy fruits and vegetables is more advantageous to your dental health than snacking on soda, cakes, candy, or fries. Fruits and vegetables have healthy vitamins that promote dental health.  Soda and fries contain sugars and starches that attract harmful bacteria. Teens with braces, taking certain medications, or with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and Down syndrome also have an increased risk for gum disease.

About Your Encinitas Periodontist

To learn how to keep your smile healthy and beautiful so you can enjoy the benefits it offers, subscribe to this blog, and visit Dr. Kania for a consultation. As a board-certified periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania is specially qualified to diagnose and treat issues concerning periodontal tissue and the supportive structures of a patient’s smile, as well as place dental implants to restore teeth lost to dental disease or trauma. To seek Dr. Kania’s expertise, visit our office or contact us today at (760) 642-0711.