What is puberty gingivitis?
The most prevalent type of gingiva (gum)l disease in childhood is known as chronic marginal gingivitis or puberty gingivitis. The inflammation is very similar to adult gingivitis with a few differences. Puberty gingivitis is a very common finding in adolescence and is generally ignored. It is believed that the periodontal diseases in adulthood are at least in part, precipitated by gum inflammation in the formative years of childhood and adolescence. The non-destructive or minor gum inflammation in childhood, without appropriate intervention, may progress in to the more significant periodontal diseases in adult life.
Symptoms of Puberty Gingivitis
The most common symptoms in young patients include bleeding and inflammation of the gums at the embrasure between two adjacent teeth.
The gum tissue exhibits changes in color, size and consistency. The surface of the gum tissue is also affected in few cases. Generally, the margin of the gum tissues shows a linear reddish coloration associated with the gum inflammation.
In the early years or life and shortly after developing, puberty gingivitis may not seem like a serious condition. However, the disease usually precipitates the upcoming periodontal diseases. The chronic periodontal disease caused by puberty gingivitis may include hyperplasia of gum tissues, increase in number and severity of periodontal pockets and chronic periodontitis at later stages of life.
Puberty Gingivitis Causes
Majority of the cases puberty gingivitis shows a peak in incidence at 11 to 13 years of age. The disease becomes less common as age increases. The condition affects both the males and females. In general the occurrence of puberty gingivitis is related to the age and oral hygiene status of an individual.
Poor oral hygiene increases the accumulation of dental plaque and in turn increase the chances of puberty gingivitis. An increase in marginal gingivitis may be seen in patients undergoing orthodontic therapy as maintaining oral hygiene may be challenging in such situations. The high incidence of gingivitis in adolescence is believed to be caused due to elevated hormone levels in the individuals.
The elevated hormone levels increase the response of the gingival tissues to the accumulated dental plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding. Bacteria present in the dental plaque such as P.gingivalis, Bacteroids forsythus and A.actinomycetemcomitans are responsible for the inflammatory response form the gum tissue.
Treatment of Puberty Gingivitis
The best treatment for puberty gingivitis would be to prevent it. Adolescents should spend more time in preventing the accumulation of dental plaque by practicing good oral hygiene. It is advisable to brush at least twice a day, using proper brushing techniques for three minutes at a time. The interdental plaque should be removed using dental floss. Mouthwashes can be used as per the prescription of the dentist.
In already developed cases of puberty gingivitis, it is best to control the condition as soon as it is noticed to avoid further periodontal problems from developing. Periodontal therapy is advisable, which includes scaling and root planning procedures. Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine can be used to reduce the infection. Patients suffering from puberty gingivitis should maintain a strict protocol for good oral hygiene maintenance.