146 – Minors and Gingivitis

Minors and Gingivitis?

What is gingivitis?

Inflammation of the gums (medical: gingivitis) is very common. In most cases, it is caused by inadequate oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth every day and clean the spaces between them, bacteria from the oral cavity will form a coating on your teeth and especially on the gum line. The germs can spread and cause inflammation: gingivitis. Symptoms such as bleeding gums when cleaning the teeth indicate this. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, an inflammation of the periodontium. This can promote certain diseases and lead to tooth loss.

Causes: Why are the gums inflamed?

It is quite normal for us to have bacteria in our mouth, just like in the gut or on the skin. More than 1000 different types of bacteria live in the mouth and have specialized in different areas of the oral cavity. Some have settled on the tongue, others in the oral mucosa or on the surface of the teeth. The totality of all bacteria in the mouth is called the oral flora. Normally the germs do not cause any problems.

However, this can change under certain conditions: the germs in the mouth feed on the leftovers from our food and form a so-called biofilm on the tooth surface and at the transition from tooth to gum. In this gel-like matrix, the germs are well shielded from external influences and can multiply, resulting in plaque. Plaque forms within 24 hours.

Many adults suffer from gingivitis and periodontitis. The chronic inflammation of the periodontium, which is popularly known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria that gradually break down bone and tissue. Periodontitis and gingivitis mainly affect adult patients. But what about children and young people? Can they also suffer from these diseases?

Periodontitis in children and adolescents

In children, on the other hand, one usually hears of early childhood tooth decay, but not of periodontitis. And in fact, periodontal disease cannot develop in children. On the one hand, this has to do with the fact that children – unlike adults – do not yet have periodontitis bacteria in their oral cavity. On the other hand, the immune system also plays a decisive role in the development of periodontal disease. Parents can certainly transmit periodontitis bacteria when kissing their child. But as a rule, children’s immune systems are so capable of defending themselves that the bacteria do not cause any inflammation.

Teenagers can get periodontal disease

It is different with young people. They can suffer from periodontitis like adults, but so-called juvenile periodontitis occurs only very rarely. About one percent of patients suffer from this early and usually very aggressive form of periodontitis. It usually starts with the onset of puberty. Even here, deep gum pockets and tooth loss can occur.

Causes of juvenile periodontitis

The causes of juvenile periodontitis are not yet clear. However, it is assumed that environmental factors that play a role in the development of adult periodontal disease (e.g. smoking) are less important in the juvenile, aggressive form. Instead, genetic factors and systemic diseases are suspected of triggering or promoting the early form of periodontitis.

Prevent juvenile periodontitis

In order to detect juvenile periodontitis as early as possible, young people should go to the dental check-up regularly and take possible signs such as bleeding gums, bad breath, exposed tooth necks or swollen gums seriously. Of course, daily and proper care of teeth and interdental spaces at home is out of the question. You can get helpful tips from your family dentist.