gum recession childrenGum recession is the gradual loss of gum tissue, which can expose the roots of the teeth and make them appear longer. Gum recession is common in adults over 40, but it sometimes begins as early as the teens. It has even been noted in children as young as 7.

It can be difficult to notice gum recession at first. It develops gradually and often does not cause symptoms in the early stages. It is important to take your child for regular dental checkups so that your dentist can identify any problems with receding gums and treat the condition before it gets worse.

One common symptom of gum recession is sensitive teeth. When the gums recede, the cementum that protects the roots of the teeth can become exposed, and the dentin tubules under it can become more sensitive to external stimuli.

Receding gums can also make the roots of the teeth visible. This is one of the main signs of a severe case of gum recession.

People with receding gums often have a “toothy” smile. Although the length of the teeth is normal, the loss of gum tissue makes them appear longer.

Gum recession can also cause halitosis (bad breath), inflammation, and bleeding. These are signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Gum recession can have several causes. The most common cause in children is a tooth in the wrong location.

Another common of gum recession is overaggressive brushing. Have your child brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and watch to make sure that he or she is not brushing too hard.

Receding gums can also be caused by the opposite: poor oral hygiene. Not brushing or flossing enough can allow plaque to build up on the teeth, which can lead to an infection and erode the jawbone.

Any form of tobacco can damage oral health. Chewing tobacco is especially problematic because it can aggravate the gingival lining of the mouth and cause gum recession when used over a period of time.

Periodontal disease can also contribute to gum recession. Periodontal disease can be caused by poor oral hygiene or diseases such as diabetes. Be sure to take your child to the dentist for regular cleanings. This is especially important if he or she has diabetes.

If your child has severe tartar buildup, it may be necessary to have scaling and root planing done. This is a procedure that can clean the teeth and heal inflammation.

After you and your dentist have identified and addressed the cause of your child’s gum recession, cosmetic or restorative surgery can be performed to reverse its effects. These can include gum tissue regeneration and gum grafting procedures.

Your dentist may just want to monitor your child’s teeth for a while to see if the gum recession progresses. Dentists often take this approach with a child who does not have all of his or her permanent teeth yet.

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