Can Children Get Gum Disease? 


While we often associate gum disease with adults, children are not immune to this serious oral health problem. Understanding the risks, prevention strategies and the importance of paediatric dentists can help protect your child’s smile for a lifetime. 

What is Gum Disease? 

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. In its early stages, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and may bleed easily when brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more severe forms of gum disease, leading to bone loss, tooth loosening and even tooth loss. 

How Common is Gum Disease in Australian Children? 

Unfortunately, dental health problems, including gum disease, are a significant concern for Australian children: 

  • Tooth decay: Affects around 40% of children by the time they start school. This decay can also increase the risk of infections in the gums. 
  • Early Gum Disease: Studies suggest that gingivitis is present in a significant number of children and adolescents. 
  • Risk Factors: Poor oral hygiene, sugary diets and certain medical conditions can increase a child’s risk of developing gum disease. 

Signs of Gum Disease in Children 

It’s important to be vigilant about your child’s oral health. Here are some signs of gum disease to watch out for: 

  • Red, swollen gums 
  • Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing 
  • Bad breath that won’t go away. 
  • Receding gums (teeth looking longer) 
  • Loose teeth 

The Importance of Paediatric Dentists 

Paediatric dentists specialise in the unique oral health needs of children and teens. They have the expertise to: 

Detect Early Issues: Paediatric dentists are trained to spot subtle signs of gum disease, ensuring prompt treatment and preventing problems from worsening. 

Educate and Motivate: They help children understand how to brush and floss effectively, promoting healthy habits for life. 

Provide Preventive Care: Regular cleanings with a paediatric dentist are key to removing plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease. 

Build Trust: Paediatric dentists create a positive, child-friendly environment to help kids feel comfortable with dental care, potentially preventing dental anxiety down the road. 

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health 

Regular Brushing & Flossing: Help your child brush twice daily and floss once a day. 

Healthy Diet: Limit sugary snacks and drinks, opting for fruits, vegetables and water. 

Paediatric Dental Visits: Establish regular checkups and cleanings early on, as recommended by your paediatric dentist. 

Remember, healthy gums are the foundation for a healthy smile. By being proactive about your child’s oral health and seeking the expertise of a paediatric dentist, you can help set them up for a lifetime of having a bright and confident smile.