You’ve probably heard of gum recession in adults, but what about in your child? Gingival recession (receding gums) is the progressive loss of gum tissue, most commonly on the bottom front teeth. If left untreated, gum recession can result in tooth root exposure and cause pain and sensitivity. Although receding gums most commonly occurs in adults over the age of 40, it can also happen to children. A child can experience receding gums at the young age of 7.
If you are adult who has receding gums the likely culprits are tobacco use, hormones, aggressive brushing, poor oral hygiene, tooth grinding or gum disease. However, for a child with gum recession, the most common reason is an irregularly located tooth. If you notice signs of lost gum tissue, such as teeth that appear longer than usual or your child complaining of sensitive teeth, it is important that you consult your dentist as soon as possible.
In evaluating a child for gum recession, your dentist will take the following factors into consideration: age of your child, how much tissue has been lost, how much of the tooth root is exposed, what is the location of the tooth in relation to the adjacent teeth, and is orthodontics planned for your child? If the gum recession is not severe and your child does not yet have all permanent in place, your dentist may decide to implement a “watch and wait” plan. In the meantime, make sure your child is maintaining a disciplined oral hygiene routine. In addition, monitor your child’s brushing technique and encourage gentle strokes.
If your dentist does decide to treat your child’s gum recession, you can rest easy that there are solutions that are highly effective and safe for your child. A dentist can give you options in gum grafting to restore your child’s gum tissues and create a healthier smile. As parents or caregivers, it is important that a child’s gums are given as much attention as their teeth, as the gums are a significant component of your child’s complete oral health.