Gingival recession (receding gums) refers to the progressive loss of gum tissue, which can eventually result in tooth root exposure if left untreated. Gum recession is most common in adults over the age of 40, but it can also occur in children as well. In fact, children as young as 7 years old can experience gum recession. Gum recession is most commonly found on the bottom front teeth.
There are several causes of gum recession, such as periodontal disease, tobacco use, insufficient oral hygiene, hormonal fluctuations, aggressive brushing, grinding and even your genes. However, the most common culprit to gum recession in children is an irregularly located tooth. It is highly important that you seek your dentist’s advice if you notice signs of gum recession in your child. Your dentist can diagnose the specific cause of your child’s recession and recommend a treatment plan if necessary. Often times, it may be something your dentist wants to just watch for a while if all of your child’s permanent teeth have not erupted yet. Making sure your child is brushing and flossing twice daily as well as teaching them to brush gently is important to preventing gum recession.
Your child’s dentist can typically diagnose gum recession at a routine check-up. However, parents can look for signs at home too. If your child is complaining of sensitive teeth or if one or more of your child’s teeth look particularly long, they may have gum recession. The decision to treat the recession will depend on the answers to the following questions.
- How much gum tissue has been lost?
- How much gum tissue remains?
- How much of the root is exposed?
- What is the position of the tooth relative to the bone and the adjacent teeth?
- Is orthodontics planned for the child?
- How old is the child?
Healthy teeth and gums are essential to your child’s growth and overall health. Periodontal conditions such as gum recession is not just for older adults to be aware of. Gilreath Family Dentistry will be happy to answer your questions and concerns regarding signs of gum recession at any stage of life.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,